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Assessing a "Public Option" for Health Care

(Photos by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with Wendell Potter, a former health insurance executive who left the industry to become an advocate for health care reform. Potter discussed the industry’s history of denying care to members and its extensive efforts to prevent the federal government from creating a “public option” for health insurance to compete with private plans. Potter said:

“The industry has always tried to make Americans think that government-run systems are the worst thing that could possibly happen to them, that if you even consider that you're heading down the slippery slope towards socialism... I think that people who are strong advocates of our health care system remaining as it is, very much a free market health care system, fail to realize that we're really talking about human beings here, and it doesn't work as well as they would like it to... They are trying to make you worry and fear a government bureaucrat being between you and your doctor. What you have now is a corporate bureaucrat between you and your doctor... The public plan would do a lot to keep [health insurance companies] honest, because it would have to offer a standard benefit plan. It would have to operate more efficiently, as does the Medicare program. It would be structured, I’m certain, on a level playing field so that it wouldn’t [have an] unfair advantage [over] the private insurance companies. Because it could be administered more efficiently, the private insurers would have to operate more efficiently.”

The “public option” is central to many Democrats’ vision for health care reform, but it has attracted pointed criticism from supporters of the “single payer” model and opponents of federal intervention alike.

In an edition of the JOURNAL broadcast in May, Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the public interest group Public Citizen advocated for “single payer” health reform, in which a single government agency would replace and eliminate private health insurance. Wolfe told Moyers that previous experiments with the “public option” have failed:

“In seven states, ranging from Washington to Minnesota to Maine, they have tried what amounts to a mixture of a private and a public plan. And in none of the states has there been any sustained reduction in the number of uninsured. It's way too expensive. As long as you have private plans in there, everybody still has to do all the bookkeeping and everything. So, it has failed. As Einstein said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again, and expecting to have a different result.’ We've seen the same unsatisfactory, unacceptable result, in state after state after state after state after state, why mess up the whole country with it?”

Recently, policy analyst Anthony Randazzo of the Reason Foundation, a libertarian group, argued that the “public option is an economic nightmare.” He wrote:

“If [the public option] is working then I will want to be part of it. And so will everyone else... Suddenly the public option starts pulling people away from private companies. Those companies will need to charge more for their decreased number of clients... In the meantime the public option will be overrun, and be maxed beyond its capacity... [President Obama said] that the government is not capable of running all health care in this economy, which is why his public option isn’t trying to take people from the private system. Ultimately, from an economic perspective, either the public option works and draws in lots of people until it can’t anymore, or it doesn’t work and is an economic mess. Either way, it’s not pretty.”

What do you think?

  • Do you agree with Wendell Potter’s view that the health insurance industry’s pursuit of profit has hurt patients? Why or why not?

  • Do you support a “public option” for health insurance to compete with private plans? If so, are you concerned about the objections raised by Wolfe and/or Randazzo?


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    Comments

    Bill,
    you have great content but how about showing the human dimensions of the problem. Remember when the Vietnam War was going on, they showed the faces of the dead? With forty-five thousand losing their lives every year there ought to be a roll call beneath the broadcast as we are watching the interviews take place. The fact is that there are a lot of good people out there fighting the good fight but they cannot fight the millions in the coffers of corporate insurance companies. Names and addresses of the dead scrolling along the bottom as the show runs will tell of the carnage being wreaked upon the American public by the greed of a few companies.

    The simplest way to fix this to offer a public option that builds on what we already have for those Americans without insurance, which is community clinics for poor people that get their payments from mysterious government sources. Make it explicit: Americans can pay for their medical expenses out of pocket, or they can buy health insurance, or they can go to a free clinic. Make access to free clinics with back up from associated hospitals an explicit right of the American people. The rich and the middle class with insurance can keep going to private doctors. The rest of us will keep doing what we do now: go to the free clinic.

    There are two things that need fixing in this country, Healthcare and Jobs. Companies cannot afford to hire employees that need healthcare and the working class can no longer afford it. Medicare for all is the only option.

    There are two things that need fixing in this country, Healthcare and Jobs. Companies cannot afford to hire employees that need healthcare and the working class can no longer afford it. Medicare for all is the only option.

    There are two things that need fixing in this country, Healthcare and Jobs. Companies cannot afford to hire employees that need healthcare and the working class can no longer afford it. Medicare for all is the only option.

    Scrap the current health care proposal plan. It would do more harm than good. Try again to include a public option.

    Scrap the current health care proposal plan. It would do more harm than good. Try again to include a public option.

    I would like to suggest two additions to the healthcare legislation to control healthcare costs:

    (1) Offer non-profit tax status to any health provider (hospital etc) that keeps its average, per patient health delivery costs within a reasonable, government-set rate of healthcare inflation. Such cost-efficient health providers would also be placed on a national cost-effective health provider list (NHPL).

    (2) Offer patients a government rebate (that could arrive in the mail) that will cover their copayment if they choose to seek care at a lower cost health facility on the national health provider list (NHPL). This list could include cost-effective health providers like Mayo Clinc, Cleveland Clinic, and Kaiser Permanente.

    Patients would love the idea that their copayment would be paid for by the government. Many patients would consider it a minor inconvenience to choose a health provider on the NHPL if the copayment was reimbursed.

    All hospitals would love the idea that they receive not-for-profit status and be placed on a national list. This would both save them substantial tax expenses and increase demand for their services as an increasing number of patients would choose their services. Thus, hospitals and other health providers would compete to be on the government list by holding down their healthcare costs. All of this would reduce waste in the healthcare system and incentivize hospitals to make health delivery more cost effective.

    As an increasing number of customers choose providers on the NHPL, insurance company reimbursements would effectively decrease as health costs attenuated. This would lower premium payments for all insurance beneficiaries.

    To pay for this, fees would be levied against insurance companies and high cost health providers. The logic behind this is that such fees would be tied to health costs. As health costs rise, so would be funding obtained from such fees. Further, it would provide a disincentive for health providers to waste health dollars.

    Republicans would love this because it doesn't impose anything on healthcare providers or patients. It simply incentivizes them to make cost-saving choices.

    Many democrats would also love this because it puts substantial market-based limits on healthcare inflation over the long-term without imposing a regressive tax on the middle class.

    Whether this could entice any Republicans to vote for the legislation is doubtful, but I do believe it would be something that Blue Dog democrats would strongly favor.

    we need universal health care .
    in the Japanese form ... were the doctors are poor and health insurance for profit is illegal.

    allenwretch wrote, in part, "Tell Americans they are on their own and get this topic finished."

    "We" have always been "on our own", haven't we?!

    Tip toe around it, but instead of "government" -

    the collective "WE THE PEOPLE"

    coming together to PROTECT the INDIVIDUAL against FORCE and FRAUD

    "We the self-proclaimed ELITE" took over "government" and

    BECAME THE SOURCE OF FORCE AND FRAUD.

    Simple.

    And stop referring to the once great "middle class" of Olympic Labor as "poor".

    We are not "poor". We are prisoners of WAR herded into a concentration camp for "incineration"

    the CONCENTRATION of "math power"

    More misery for others =
    more money for ME ME ME

    Putting more and more USELESS people in between the patient and the doctor to play "god" - American Idol-style - is the crap that FOR PROFIT medicine already IS.

    Yes, USA has the best medical care that money can buy - and war lords and drug lords come here to get organ transplants and bone marrow "stem cells"...

    Personally, I like the lottery idea better. Everyone will buy a ticket and some "poor" person might get out of "jail". And if it is a "healthy" person who dies of old age and doesn't need the organs or stem cells, allow them to bequeath it on to the family...but, of course, there would be a Dem vs Rep "political" debate for 50 years as to whether it "costs" too much to PERMIT a parent to gift a child with "health care".

    Sorry for the sarcasm, but there is no way to give PERSONAL "how they died" examples anymore without also providing the "interpretation" of the whole MORAL structure from the prisoner in the concentration camp's "perseption is reality" perspective, is there?

    Posted by: Nick Wagner "We need more LOBBYIST like Ms. Flowers. I wonder what she earns from her organization. I wonder why Bill Moyer did not interview the clinics she spoke of to verify her story. Wow, and they say FOX is biased. I wonder, how many on this blog pay their taxes and how many work under the table. Let's reform our tax system before heathcare."

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    She is not a good lobbyist, she is poor, no bribe potential there. And even if she was rich, she is not richer than the HMO's and corps that bribe DC.

    Greed is never satisfied by attainment. Once attained the desire for more is just raised to a higher level. Greed is only satisfied by contentment.

    So in the case of the DC scumbags, they are not interested in being satisfied with social ethics and doing good by the American public. They are only on a never ending journey of more money and power at ANY cost to the citizens.

    Every option under the sun has already been tried in various countries when it comes to healthcare. What the US needs is a 2 system healthcare plan. Fee for service system that is in place now for the rich folks and a socialized healthcare for basic needs for the poor folks.

    If we just take from what others have tried (that worked) then we could work through this mess. Now, if the gov doesn't want to oversee socialized healthcare then say so. Tell Americans they are on their own and get this topic finished.

    A Rep at the presidential healthcare summit said the Reps don't what the gov in control of healthcare, they want people in control.

    OK, that is exactly what we have now... people in control of healthcare. So if nothing changes, then nothing changes. (well, not really, we can guarantee that healthcare costs will continue to skyrocket.)

    What can we do?

    Posted by: Dr Rick Boettger

    Especially in rural areas, MDs do not have to get involved with "health" insurance companies, do they?

    More community health care centers that accept whatever a person can pay...once a year have fund raising...it worked before, it will work again, especially now with all the new info.

    Don't mean to shock anyone's sensibilities, but with the ways things are now in USA, had Hitler just incorporated Auschwitz, Adolf and Eva as CEO with lovely wife

    all the workers would have had, both, their FOR PROFIT enterprise (Work makes one free)

    SAVED under USA corporation "laws" in 2010!

    And maybe even funded by tax payer money because they are "too big to fail".

    Remember, the ONLY time no one worries about the COSTS is when they decide to go ahead and have a WAR.

    FOR PROFIT "health care" is a concentration camp that "incinerates" people - no ifs ands or buts about it.

    The interview with Dr. Flowers was a great. I'm encouraging my elected representatives and their Legislative Aides to view it. The time is long overdue for a program advocated by Physicians for a National Health Program. As she mentioned in the interview, a reform her group advocates or something similar will save lives, families and small and large businesses. My understanding is that the lack of such a program had an impact on General Motors' economic viability. Thanks!

    How sad that I didn't realize that this was a rerun, and we have gone nowhere in 9 months. Nor have I heard of the remarkable Dr Margaret Flowers. With Bill Moyers leading the way, and all of the bright energy responding as we do, why are we so helpless? What can we do?

    We need more LOBBYIST like Ms. Flowers. I wonder what she earns from her organization. I wonder why Bill Moyer did not interview the clinics she spoke of to verify her story. Wow, and they say FOX is biased. I wonder, how many on this blog pay their taxes and how many work under the table. Let's reform our tax system before heathcare.

    The watched Bill Moyers interview with Dr Margaret Flowers and the first thing I thought was ...Thankfully I watch Public television because it's the only television where you can find sanity!

    I support and agree with everything Dr Flowers said. We are all getting screwed from boh sides and when a Middle aged American Dr whi is intelligent and smart can't get a second of time from the White House on a topic she knows!! We are in trouble. Dems or Repubs...we better join her and causes like Physicians for National healthcare or we'll all be living and dying in the streets. Bravo to Moyers!

    RE: I am waiting; just tell the millions like me who agree with Dr. Flowers what we have to do? Richard B. Shaw, Sr.

    What can you do? You are invited to join the newly created DEMAND-SIDE PARTY, a party that truly represents your plight.

    This is our platform:

    THE DEMAND-SIDE PARTY UPDATED PLATFORM

    So far we have a party platform of:

    Single-Payer Health care

    Minimize profits for corporations.

    Provide equitable wages for the working people.

    Eliminate non-productive institutions.

    Eliminate lobbyists.

    Not allow corporate money to politicians.

    Provide "new money" to support the fiscal needs of our nation.

    Absolve the national debt.

    Abolition of corporate person-hood – the idea that corporations have the same Constitutional protections as human beings

    Cancel NAFTA and the WTO

    Abolish the Federal Reserve

    Redistribution of wealth from the Rich to the Poor and Middle class

    Abolish Monopolies enforcing anti-trust laws

    Abolishing the corporate owned mainstream media

    Enforce accountability

    Separation of State, Church, AND Commerce be established

    Rotation in Congressional committees

    Impeach all corporate influenced Supreme Court justices

    2-term limit (like the POTUS) for all elected representatives

    Elected officials subsequently be barred from lobbying or influence peddling

    Public funding of elections

    Impeachment of any Representative who does not favor a new constitutional amendment addressing a real campaign finance reform

    Yes I am in favor of a public option plan. It would help keep the insurance companies honest and affordable and we need to kick out those dirty lobbists also.

    I also watched Bills interview with Dr. Flowers. Thank God for professionals like her. Which is what this country used to stand for. Is or was fairness for all Americans. But the lobbyisys and dirty politicians are absolutely getting away with everything and anything on capitol hill. And there is nothing being done about it. It sends fear thru me to the bone that this country cannot get organized and get rid of all the trash sitting in the senate, congress and the house. We desperetly need working class citizens up there and not a bunch of dirty partying lawyers.

    Bill Moyer's conversation with Dr. Flowers was most insightful yet disturbing.

    First of all it was a breath of fresh air to see a Doctor so impassioned with caring for people that she sacrificed her career to spearhead a movement to bring positive change to a broken health care system. Her journey has led her to see health cares failure in this country is symptomatic of the real cause- our sadly broken government.

    If a Doctor who represents a non-profit agency that is backed by millions of Doctors, health care professionals and citizens can't have her voice heard by congress or our President where does the ordinary citizen's voice stand in this country.

    Dr. Flowers should be encouraged by the fact that there are millions upon millions of Americans like me who are waiting for someone to organize us into action.

    We are tired of seeing those with bigoted and narrow minded thinking being organized by opportunitist who have only their selfish interests in mind.

    What is needed right now is the massive silent majority that we witnessed in President Obama's election, that stood in the cold on his inauguration day to come together in an organized fashion and stand behind him.

    Do you know why the White House seems so weak in the face of these powerful lobbyist and interest groups. It is because the massive group of individuals who showed up to elect President Obama went home not understanding how Democracy works.

    Democracy works by concerted, organized, ongoing and strategic action. Not by going home to watch the news shows. Unfortunately, only a small group of bigots and narrow-minded activist understand this.

    We the people have to get up and get moving together to overturn the mess that our Congress and Senate are now promoting as so-called Universal health care.

    We the people must band together and get behind the President with action. We must encourage him to be the President he promised to be and who I believe he can be.

    We the people must organize not just a march on washington but a movement, a peaceful revolution on Washington.

    We the people must create A flood of voices backed by the right actions that will overwhelm the money, the lobbyist and our weak knee legislators and President.

    I am waiting; just tell the millions like me who agree with Dr. Flowers what we have to do? I know there are some who don't agree with her on every point. Those specific points are irrelevant right now. The relevant thing is that we all agree that our gov't is broken and change is imperative.

    Last, this is to Dr. Flower's specifically. Miss you can be my Doctor any day of the week!

    Wow, this is one Hell of a Progressive website. How about we go to a National Sales Tax first before the Single Payer Option. With only 49% of the American population paying taxes, it would be fair to find a way to collect taxes from those who work under the table and work with tax exempt status. Hell, even the freeway ramp beggars earn over $65K a year on average. We should really consider a National Sales Tax for heathcare first.

    If this countries goal is to take care of everyone in health care, then the single-payer is the only way.I find it so sad that many law makers don't believe all people are entiled to health care. They think it is a priviledge for just some of the people. I pray you are sucessful Dr. Flowers

    right on Dr. Flowers anybody with good common sence would agree This talk that it would cost the gonernment a large amount of money is BS that the insurance companies put out . If they can make dillions of their insurance so can we at less cost then maybe we could pay down the national debt.HURRAY FOR DR. FLOWERS AND THE OTHER 17,000 DOCTORS.I only wish other TV stations would interview your orgination also.Every one should watch PBS it is the only channel that comes up with the truth about the things that go on in washington.

    Dr Flowers logic and personal observations agree with most others who are comparing payment and access. President Obama talked about preferring single payer during the campaign and again last fall. The political fallout was toxic with corporate and GOP interests demonizing the idea. The public option was conceived to open the door for government competition and adds a dimension of future single payer opportunity.

    Interesting in how Obama promised that we can keep our doctor and he has made that promise several times. Then he says we need to stay consistent on the message but we will not be able to keep our doctors because things were snuck into the health bill. Then the bill was going to be transparent and opened to the public. What happened there? Last, the Democrates are having to make deals that total in the trillions to pass this bill. What's wrong with this picture?

    I'm for heath reform but I want to allow insurance to compete across State lines. To make it a crime for insurance companies to drop coverage because of pre-exisiting conditions and not because the client cannot afford their policy. There are laws that we can pass to make our heathcare system better but the public option is not the way.

    Finally, if you want to fix heathcare, fix our system of taxation. Only 49% of Americans are paying their taxes. Because of these liberal programs, California is $541 Billion dollars in debt and the debt is growing. Create a National Sales Tax to insure EVERYONE is paying into the system. And let's have a closer look at Ms. Flowers lobbing income and investigate her claims of how the clinics that employed her operated and why.

    Dr. Flowers proposes the only solution that would seem to work.

    Dr M Flowers is so right on. The system is broken. Compare, for example, the costs of surgeries in other countries where the hospital care is comparable. Surgical procedures and hospital care can and will bankrupt the American citize. It will not overseaes!

    I fully support Margaret Flowers and the single payer Medicare for all single payer system. Please do not give up the fight.

    So Interesting as I finished the last bit of this interview. My husband carries the best health insurance a middle class family can have- Yet even with that sort of coverage I am currently starring at a bill from Anthem that is claiming NOT to pay for an Eye Exam I had in 2008! YES Folks 2008! Well I paid my overage of 20.00 bucks at the time Bill was $520, our eye coverage was $500.00 Well now since the company went with a new insurance the next year - Well "another one bites the dust" as the insurance is Backing out of a deal for the coverage and is going to make it a "BATTLE GROUND ARENA" between The Dr. , I and them over who is picking up the remaining balance from 2008 - I feel this countries insurance industry is taking us back to Roman Times - as they sit high above and watch us battle each other! They Love it while they Pay out Bonuses and Lobbyist to the very Representatives in Washington who make the rules and regulations on such a diminishing absured Health System for the US citizens. Its time to wake up and stand up to these criminal Insurance companies!

    So Interesting as I finished the last bit of this interview. My husband carries the best health insurance a middle class family can have- Yet even with that sort of coverage I am currently starring at a bill from Anthem that is claiming NOT to pay for an Eye Exam I had in 2008! YES Folks 2008! Well I paid my overage of 20.00 bucks at the time Bill was $520, our eye coverage was $500.00 Well now since the company went with a new insurance the next year - Well "another one bites the dust" as the insurance is Backing out of a deal for the coverage and is going to make it a "BATTLE GROUND ARENA" between The Dr. , I and them over who is picking up the remaining balance from 2008 - I feel this countries insurance industry is taking us back to Roman Times - as they sit high above and watch us battle each other! They Love it while they Pay out Bonuses and Lobbyist to the very Representatives in Washington who make the rules and regulations on such a diminishing absured Health System for the US citizens. Its time to wake up and stand up to these criminal Insurance companies!

    I'd really like to see the proof of Ms. Flowers statements about the conditions of her employer. I'd really like to hear why such ridged guidelines were implemented from her employer. Then, I'd like to know how much she earns lobbying for her cause. Like most of the comments posted, I never had health insurance in my earlier years. I had a good job but rather than waste money on insurance because I was bullet proof, I spent my money on booze and women. Furthermore, I know of plenty of people who work for cash under the table. Because they claim no income, they'd be eligilble for taxpayer paid insurance as well. One Contractor I know earns over half a million a year and claims nothing. Seems like everyone wants something for nothing and Ms. Flowers is doing very well.

    I just saw Bill Moyers' presentation of Dr. Margaret Flowers' brave and brilliant action on behalf of Medicare For All. May The Force be with Dr. Flowers and media powerhouses like Bill Moyers and all the single-payer supporters speaking up here in taking this desperately overdue national cause to The White House and Congress and seeing it written into law immediately for every American. As Bill Moyers paraphrased Margaret Mead's famous remark, a handful of dedicated people can change the world. The country is behind her namesake, Dr. Margaret Flowers! We've got your back, Margaret. Let's do it!


    I am on Medicare. One night I realized that the $96.40 deducted from my Social Security check pays 80% of all my Part B doctor’s bills. And the other 20% is paid by an AARP Medicare Supplement policy. That has a monthly premium of $153.61.Those numbers do not make sense to me. What if Medicare paid 100%. I multiplied 96.40 x 1.20% = $115.48, or 1385.76 a year. I also carry part D RX coverage and pay $35.50 a month. If you add $96.40 + $153.61 + $35.50= $285.51 monthly or $3426.12 a year. That is my insurance cost.

    Now subtract $285.51 -$ 115.68= $169.83 or 2037.96 a year. In round numbers I am paying $2000 dollars more a year to subsidize the private insurance industry than if Medicare paid 100% of my bills. Let’s do some more simple math and use rounded numbers. There are about 45 million seniors on Medicare, plus a few million disabled persons. So call it 50,000,000 million in total. Multiply 2x50=100. Then add the 3 zeros from the $2000, that totals of $100,000 and has 5 zeros. Now a million dollars has 6 more zeros, so when you add (000,000) zeros to 100,000. we have 11 zeros or $100,000,000,000 billion dollars a year in hidden subsidies to the private insurance industry. If that isn’t bad enough project it out over 10 years and we now have $1 trillion dollars that could be spent to provide health care to more Americans instead of profits to insurance companies. Most seniors (everyone) would gladly pay even $300 a month if all Americans could afford access to health care.

    The government estimate for total health care costs last year was $2.2 trillion dollars. I have just shown you how to save $1 trillion dollars. Some more math. There are 300,000,000 million Americans. If everyone paid a premium of $3000 dollars a year, that total would be $900,000.000.000 billion dollars A far cry from $2.2 trillion.

    I have not seen or heard anyone use this approach in the debate. This does not require legislation. I want to create a movement, a bottoms up ground swell in which everyone demands that their doctors and hospitals accept Medicare pricing. Sen Sanders made the statement that Duke Univ Hospital has 900 beds and 900 people processing insurance claims. The insurance industry has taken control of health care---Why let it continue!!


    Robert Boyd wrote, in part, "I wonder what would happen if everybody just boycotted the insurance industry and stopped paying their health insurance premiums. The insurance industry has come full circle and is about to become extinct because its only usefulness is to its self, which in a matter of time cannot sustain because in order to do so must rely on those that can depend on it. Well we have seen that we cannot depend on it so therefore has become obsolete."

    Good point...

    The people with the good fortune to have good genes (most of the newly created "poor", btw) NEED to stop paying the premiums because that's the only way to cut off the oxygen to the fire of PROFITS for the execs...

    the only people who would not stop paying are those who have something "chronic" like diabetes or HIV or heart disease, etc etc etc etc etc. BIG PHARM is not spending its "profits" - well, then LOWER the cost for the CONSUMERS who MUST USE your "medicine" - leave the rest of us alone.

    Data WAS around for a while that showed that 5% of the population sucks up 95% of the NEED...

    As is, the PLAN driving the ridiculously spun out "debates" in D.C. before the "holy days" is to empower the IRS to shake down HEALTHY people to create a NEW flow of cash to the WAR CHEST...it is NOT about health care!

    THAT's the TRUTH and YES YES YES - let's all stop "buying" "health insurance"...

    Those 75,000 employees at UHC, for instance, are INCOMPETANT as PRODUCERS of CIVILIZATION "wealth" - they are WORSE than useless, and if their numbers get added to the unemployment numbers - so what?! Why should the only "jobs" left int he USA be those jobs that STEAL?

    In the background, the blubbering is all about how "americans don't "save"...FINE, we can start "saving" our health insurance premiums!

    Like, duh.

    I know that's where the money I'm throwing away would end up - in MY account and then I'd have it for whatever health care I might need - mano et mano...with the "deduct-able" I have, it NEEDS to be "saved" anyway!

    The WAR is aginst health insurance companies and it is PSYCHOTIC to give the IRS power to FORCE us to give them war chest money via those USELESS "health care" institutions...

    Enough. Seriously, enough.

    People are living in flood tunnels in Las Vegas - what are they waiting for...? Move in all the Israelis from Israel...

    there is NO $$$ or bodies to go after the Persian Empire (Clinton's surplus is LONG GONE)

    Iran's REVOLUTIONARY THEOCRATS are running only on the fumes of the Shah's wealth that they stole...

    I wonder what would happen if everybody just boycotted the insurance industry and stopped paying their health insurance premiums. The insurance industry has come full circle and is about to become extinct because its only usefulness is to its self, which in a matter of time cannot sustain because in order to do so must rely on those that can depend on it. Well we have seen that we cannot depend on it so therefore has become obsolete. Its simple, The government must quickly cold turkey this bad habit and take decisive action and implement the only means to compensate health care providers and it is (taxation ) sorry if that pisses you) but get real for those who say nothing is free but don't raise my taxes oh no not for health care, yet if we want roads fixed, schools, fire, police, military,etc, well why exclude health care. all those other services we already pay for, hey they too are used by the poor and jobless, disabled, you know, the ones some say "don't pay taxes" -people wake up and just know this, you have been duped all of your life by the health insurance INDUSTRY. Don't feel dumb though, because your learning faster than those well educated fools on the hill in congress aka "educated fools" they cant tune in, some of them may think that all of them is the whole world.Health care is not a commodity only to be accessed by those who can pay the highest price for admission like a club or gated community. Its a basic need like air, water, food, love,etc How dare for all these years that only some private companies grow big and fat while feasting on our hard earned money so they can Incorporate to protect themselves form accountability from behind their mazes of drones and agents,departments and branches and subsidiaries, mergers acquisitions, monopolies and whatever orgies they take part in such as lobbying/bribing. making us the means to their ends only to exploit everyone's right for access to health care providers and turn around and charge them even more for malpractice polices or whatever products required. Doctors are not in it just for the money and I wouldn't want one that is. The health insurance industry is just a big powerful thing that must be laid to rest because it cannot be stopped not even by itself, as it is "to big to fail". Government cant figure out how to manage it either and would do better not to try to co-op with it. Its just one more "trap" we could do without if we want to.

    Most Americans do not understand the “Public Option” currently being debated in Congress along with other healthcare reforms. Few, if any, will read the entire final bill before it is voted on, and that includes those doing the voting. Both sides are making promises and predictions on what will happen to healthcare if/when the Public Option does (not) become law. Wouldn't it be great if we could look into the future to see how a government run single payer program will likely function in 5, 10, 20, 30 years and beyond? Luckily, we can. There are many potential parallels between the proposed healthcare Public Option and the current “Public Option” in our education system.

    Our public schools-

    Are supported by taxes paid by all, either directly or indirectly, whether they are in school, have children in school, have, ever had, or will ever have any children in the future.
    Most people have little or no choice of which school their child attends, nor which classroom and teacher their child is assigned to.
    Private schools are an option, for those that can afford them … but those parents still have to pay taxes for the public schools their children don't attend. Public schools today have the hardest time in areas with many private schools, because those taxpayers are not inclined to vote for bond measures and taxes on themselves for something they don't use.
    When there are budget shortages, reduction of teachers and increases in class sizes are the typical response. This is “rationing”, the same practice that will be used when healthcare costs exceed their budgets. Doctors, nurses and clinics will be expected to see more patients for the same or less money.
    Not all schools are bad, many are very good.
    Not all teachers, principles and administrators are bad, many are great!
    The average per student expenditures does not necessarily translate into higher test scores or students with a better education.
    The larger the school system, the greater the chance it performs poorly. You could look at New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, etc. but the best examples are the Washington D.C. public schools. Right there in Congress' backyard, where they live, where their staff lives, where they come face to face with area residents everyday whose children attend those local public schools. That is the children of the residents, not members of Congress, because their children usually attend elite private schools. How can we expect Congress to deliver a quality nationwide medical care system, when they can't even provide an adequate school system for their own community??
    We have vast bureaucracies at the Federal, state and local levels dedicated solely to education. School board members are either elected directly or appointed by elected officials. So they are much closer and more accountable to the people they serve than they would be in a single national system. A national healthcare system would be managed from afar, more like the IRS than our current schools.
    Teacher's salary is rarely tied to performance, because there are few, if any, metrics or standards for teacher performance. A teacher's pay is typically related to their number of years of service, not their teaching skills nor results.
    Poor teachers, principals, and administrators are often shuffled around, typically to areas with less political influence, because real discipline and termination are very difficult. Powerful unions actively refuse teacher performance measurements. (Personal note: I firmly believe there is a secret backroom deal to give “Free Choice” to all healthcare workers to join the SEIU. And since doctors are easily out numbered by nurses, orderlies, medical technicians, etc., all doctors will get swept into, forced to join, pay dues and follow union rules.) What kind of performance measurements do you think will be enforced upon doctors and nurses in a unionized nationwide system controlled by Congress??? What kind of doctors and nurses should you expect to find at your local clinics and hospitals?
    Virtually every politician campaigns with education as one of their top priorities and promises they will do all they can to solve the problems and make improvements. But the overall quality and performance of our schools continues to decline. When you hear politicians talk about healthcare, or insurance run by the government, listen carefully to see if you can determine where these promises are different from those they made about our schools. Do you hear any reason to believe their healthcare promises will come true, when their school system promises have not? I'm not talking about their sincerity, or their honest belief that the schools (or healthcare) should be better. What we need to focus on and evaluate are the results!! Regardless of your thoughts on why our schools are in such poor shape, do you really believe those same politicians will be able to do for healthcare what they have been unable to accomplish with our schools??

    Another indicator of what will happen with universal healthcare provided by the government – school vouchers! Ask yourself why won't the government allow you to use your tax allocation (or medical insurance premium) to send your child to the school of your choice? Wouldn't that make schools better, because they would be forced to compete with other public and private schools? Once the government controls the healthcare industry do you really think you will be allowed to use “voucher-like” funds to visit the doctor or hospital of your choice??

    Please take a few minutes to think about the schools you attended, those your children attended and/or those in your current community. How would you feel if you and your family had to depend on a similar system for all your healthcare needs? Remember, our public schools only support 5 to 18 year old's that do not attend private schools. Universal healthcare will need to support every person in America!!


    Many people are happy with their education, their local schools, and would not have any concerns about a government run healthcare system. They may actually look forward to a government controlled healthcare system. BUT, most people are not thinking in terms of how the schools systems are being run today when considering nationalized healthcare. They are “assuming” the current level of medical care, skills, availability and the dedication of those in the medical industry will be provided to them by the government. I can't make that assumption, for many reasons. Also, I know too many talented educators that left teaching because of how the system works, or doesn't. I can't believe there won't be many doctors and nurses that have the same reaction to a government controlled medical system burdened by similar procedures and practices imposed by a huge centralized bureaucracy. These are motivated, talented, well educated people that will be able to find good jobs in other industries. But will you be able to find medical professionals to replace them for the medical goods, treatments and services you'll need in the future??

    Additional points to ponder about your schools and how they might apply to clinics and hospitals in the future:

    Are your schools well maintained, clean and safe, with adequate facilities and equipment for all students? Are the heating and air conditioning operational, and can they afford to run them, keeping classrooms at a comfortable temperature?
    Are there enough desks, chairs, computers, musical instruments, athletic equipment, playground balls, band and sports uniforms, for all interested students? And are they well maintained, and quickly repaired when needed? Are they promptly replaced when they've become too old, obsolete or fail so often they can not afford to be repaired?
    Do your schools have adequate supplies of books, paper, pencils, markers, poster board, art supplies, etc.? Or will you be holding bake sales and pancake breakfasts to assure your local clinic has enough sterile bandages, antibiotics, antiseptics, disinfectants, tape, alcohol, cotton balls, band-aids, sterile needles for injections, sutures, protective eyeglasses, sterile gowns, and other medical supplies to properly care for their patients?
    Do you think the quality and variety of food provided at your schools will be satisfactory for hospital or nursing home patients?
    What about transportation? Kids are usually provided transportation to and from public schools. Will the government be shamed into providing transportation for medical treatments and services? (What good is free healthcare, if you can't get there to receive it?)
    This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, so I imagine most people will be able to come up with better examples than I provided above.

    This is not intended to imply that we don't need healthcare reform. We do! And the sooner the better! There are critical flaws in our current system that must be changed. But the “Public Option” isn't the only way to fix the system.

    If Congress knows how to eliminate 50-100 Billion dollars in MediCare and Medicaid fraud and waste, do it. Do it now!! Don't wait until a vast expansion of them or a similar system is forced upon the American public. Remove the fraud and waste now!!!


    If Congress knows how to run a massive nationwide bureaucracy that delivers efficient, fair, high quality services, use it to fix our public schools. And do it now!! Why wait until we have a government controlled healthcare system to show us how it can be done???

    If Congress knows how to attract, retain, measure, evaluate, motivate, and if necessary, punish a workforce to assure the highest quality staff, why start with doctors and nurses? Why not implement those policies and practices in our schools now?? Why wait??? Or worse, why only implement them for healthcare professionals??

    If Congress knows how to prevent the “unavoidable cost overruns”, “unforeseen conflicts”, “unpredictable outcomes” and especially “unintended consequences” that might destroy this universal healthcare concept, why haven't they demonstrated this ability in other areas, programs and laws???

    If Congress is so concerned about the profits and high salaries of the insurance companies, why are they afraid to address the billions and billions wasted each year on frivolous, extortion and lottery-like litigation. Do you really think the public is better off when Congress tries to reduce the income of doctors and hospitals that provide your medical services, without addressing the lawyers who earn millions, but do nothing to provide or improve medical services? When I get sick, I'd rather go to a well paid doctor to be cured, than to a rich lawyer to litigate my treatments and a settlement. Personally, I'd rather our best and brightest go to medical school, instead of law school.

    Please, just stop and think for a few minutes about what a government run single payer or healthcare “public option” really means. What happens when the glow of a great new public service offering wears off and the administrators have to face reality and are forced to make the tough decisions needed to balance their budgets? Do you have confidence that this Congressional, politically driven, scorched earth approach to reform is the only, or even the best solution to our healthcare problems?? If not, please take the few minutes required to communicate it to others, including your elected officials.

    B-bob:
    Medical care is a real need, and probably a human right under civilization.
    Herring are approaching extinction. They were a small spawning fish coming annually, salted away for the winter. Their habitat was dammed and sewerized. And why "red"?
    Is the public option communist? "Let not the perfect be the obstacle of the profitable." (Obama's subtext) People wouldn't know what to do these days with a herring or a communist if one fell on their head.

    You could shuffle the deck in Congress, but nothing would change as long as we live under corporate capitalism and the oligarchy. Can-do types got us in these messes.

    Anyway, because of living in the dirty aquarium we got (where seafood is suspect), we have to choose the most advantageous solution for the general public. 70% of us want a public option like Medicaid for all, because we don't want others to profit from our physical suffering. Our medical system has become perverted because of capitalistic tendencies and not because we have been too caring. Socialized (a pretty word I think) medicine is the first step to most people getting control of their medical care and not being manipulated or deceived by greed. (I can hardly stand the salespitch craziness of a doctor visit now.)

    My dentist told me he replaced some fillings as a "precaution", and not due to cracks or decay, but then added how strapped he was by two kids in private colleges and a wife who loves to remodel and landscape their estate. I thought of his accountability as he was trained in the 70s at public expense in the U.S. Air Force. I think it fair that I'm seeking another dentist. That's socialistic reasoning and not market capitalism, because there's nothing wrong with his services or skill, just his attitude. Think of the "wombs of Lewiston" and the phantom cataracts at every eye mill. Only abandoning market medicine and disincentivizing profit can deliver good care. Remember: Even sorry little oppressed Cuba has a longer healthier life expectancy than we do. Everyone in: No one out!
    (Don't eat more fish.)

    Health Care is the Red-Herring Congress' Smoke & Mirrors diversion from the MAJOR FAILURE of Congress over the Financial Mess allowed to develop over the years by an Asleep-at-the Wheel, SENIORITY Stymied Congress!

    Health Care is to important to be COMPRMISED 'as "...the best we could get..." by a Stymied, Seniority System where a few DEFEAT the other side AT ALL COST so they can noyt get re-elected.

    HEY! Let us get some positive, can-do-types elected next election!
    Dump The Dummies negative campaign may prove to be a positive FOR the PEOPLE!

    Billy Bob, Florida

    related: notice how the New York Times
    crafts its article headlines Re: health care,
    who writes those headlines, the RNC? Wellpoint?
    Example: (today's NYT website):

    "Public Option Is Next Big Hurdle in Health Debate
    By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG "

    This headline casts the public option in the
    light of an obstacle!

    FROM :-
    DR ANGUS MACDONALD M.B., F.R.C.P
    Meadow View , The Warren MAYFIELD UK TN20 6UB
    Email amlevieux@googlemail.com

    Dear Dr Moyers

    I speak as a retired senior member of the British Health system, much stigmatised in the US, but in which we have for years been experimenting with the process of combining private and public funding for the healthcare of the population as a whole.

    The general background to the scene here has increasingly been that a series of governments struggling increasingly desperately, with the cost of providing a universal high standard system of health care to the population at large, funded out of taxation and free to the patient at the point of 1st contact.

    An endless series of futile experiments has been undertaken within the system as a whole, e.g. paper markets, part privatisation etc etc (many based on American thinking) and to some extent these have been successful in the secondary (hospital based) sector especially in the reduction of waiting times for treatment

    But the glue which has held the whole system together and which has allowed the experiment in the secondary sector to proceed without undue harm (and in some case some benefit) to the patient has been the state funded PRIMARY SECTOR of generalist practitioners (General Practitioners or GP’s) to whom the public at large have direct free access, and who are on the whole immensely popular (as measured by numerous surveys with their patients; private general practitioners do function in the UK but demand for their services is miniscule).

    The effects of the OBAMA approach to US healthcare together with the revelations of Mr Wendell Potter seems to have initiated in the US an explosion of ‘health fair’ systems which are enjoying (as judged by the internet) a huge amount of publicity and apparent popularity . They abound in excellent advice both electronic and practical about the improvement of health mainly by preventative measures etc, but human nature being what it is, there will always be a huge demand from people who want advice about their immediate problems rather than their long term health.

    In the UK these are served by the free GP system whose teams (consisting of doctors, nurse practitioners and other para-medicals) have a triage effect on the stream of referral to the secondary systems. In the US this seems to be strikingly absent from the websites of the many State Health-Fairs, presumably since the Health insurers see it as a threat to their dominant position.

    All I can say is that in the UK anyone can see a doctor without incurring a bank loan, and that this does not prevent the secondary (hospital based sector) from struggling to keep up with the demand both private (ie health insured) and public, (statefunded).

    : Mark Weseloh | September 4, 2009 1:56 AM
    What makes you think President Obedient has any choices in policy? Seeing him led around the golf course by a UBS exec. (Herr Wolf, on Martha's Vineyard) told me the entire story. He's a bag-toter to the Elite, who can't even deliver shot advice. It's not that Barack Obama is deficient in any way as a person, but he's a hostage to the myths of National Security and beginning to exhibit Stockholm Syndrome. He may well be this empire's last elected President, so savor the dregs of procedural democracy.

    (Soon the 2-parties will be as passe' as the Brooklyn Dodgers.)

    November 8, 2012

    It was a surprising upset for former President Barack Obama. In the last few weeks the polls showed he was loosing ground and the overwhelming momentum of voters wanting change left him and many Democrats on the side lines. The Democrats loosing both house and Senate seats 2 years ago, during the mid-term elections, should have given them a clue. For 4 years the minority party stayed on offense, picking up ground.

    There were many factors that lead to his defeat. One of the most serious was the defection of many of his earlier supporters, the young, liberal/progressives, moderates and gays switched to third party candidates. Some were expected to vote differently this time around but the numbers of the disenchanted, frustrated and angry were grossly underestimated by the Obama advisors.

    His continual appeasement to the Republicans lead to watering down all the major bills that came before him. So called health care reform was passed but the bill still left tens of millions of Americans uninsured and tens of millions more at the mercy of the insurance companies. Obama compromised and got a bill passed, as if insuring the status quo was a positive. Too little too late became the peoples cry. The election showed that his continual compromises were seen as a betrayal and the people noticed and finally voiced. their outrage toward him and Congress. Extending Medicare to all would have done more to help Americans than pass a weak compromised bill that actually hurt them.

    Single payer health care was overwhelmingly preferred by the people, even after the propaganda machines rolled out their fear tactics and lies. The media mostly showed people opposed to health care reform which distorted the public view. In fact, only a small minority were ever against it. Despite the health industries pledge to be fair they increased premiums by an average of over 18% during the passed three years.

    Obama underestimated liberals/progressives long memories and the need to complete the past. which has been unanswered over the past 12 years. Over the past 4 years, thousands of revealing documents, showed illegal acts by members of the Bush administration, yet only a few individuals were ever charged and fewer even brought to trial. When you let bullies get away with criminal acts, it actually emboldens them. Bullies (Republicans) are like STD’s, the more you ignore them the worse they get. During the 2012 election voters both on the left and right carried signs stating “Anybody but Obama”.

    The continual drum beat from the right about Obama’s failing economy policies became a self fulfilling prophecy. The more the right spread fear and lies, distrust of Obama drove his poll numbers down. The farther right he went to appease the right, who would never vote for him, the more he lost his left and center base.

    The stimulus money, which could have helped millions of struggling Americans, mostly languished in the vaults due to fear of criticism on how it might be spent. Wisely spending most the money early would have showed Americans he cared.
    The Blue Dogs often sided with “The Party of No. to stop Obama from accomplishing any significant legislation. Obama’s hollow promises on the campaign trail still echo in the minds of his former loyalists. He abandoned his base assuming they would be faithful lap dogs and always be there no matter how he neglected them. He and his advisors were so wrong for so long. All he had to do was act like a Commander in Chief and take charge instead of acting like a camp counselor, wanting everyone to get along, be friends and play nice. The people wanted an advocate and fighter for their rights and causes. They were often ignored and always disappointed. The mostly spineless Democrats got what they deserved. Change you can believe in became we don’t believe you can change.

    Not unlike the O.J. trial, the people were sending a message, be responsive to their needs or feel the wrath of their voting power. Obama didn’t follow through on his campaign promises to side with the people over special interest groups and big corporations. There is no balance between what the majority of the people need for basic existence and corporate greed taking more and more and giving less and less. When will the greed end?
    Without any meaningful legislation regulating and controlling the excesses of Wall Street and big business there is a time bomb waiting to go off, again.

    Little was done for the millions of families that lost their homes to foreclosure. Banks, unreasonably tight with money, failed to support the neighborhood families that supported them when they were struggling. Over 4 million families lost their homes to foreclosure and with them they lost their hopes and dreams. Small business also suffered at the banks hands. Without flowing money, rehiring became impossible and the jobless numbers steadily rose four years in a row.

    Apathy and frustration among the people is rampant as they see big business in control of Washington. It is governments duty to protect the weak from those with money and power that would take advantage of them. Government has miserably failed. The system has failed. Letting the foxes run the hen house, as we did from 2000 to 2008, proved a failure and yet we are heading in that direction again with proposed deregulation of most sectors. The Republicans obstructed Obama every chance they had and when they stopped or watered down his legislation they cried, “see Government doesn’t work”.

    In hind site, Obama admitted, one of his biggest mistakes was to not take on finance reform in his 1st year in office. Without this reform special interest groups and corporate lobbyists, often using taxpayer monies, stopped or at least severely watered down major legislation in every sector. Election finance reform would have nullified their power and voices in Washington allowing meaningful legislation to pass, helping tens of millions of the ever struggling lower and middle classes.

    Obama only had one shot in the big leagues and his inexperience coupled with poor advise did him in. Why did he ignore the lessons from the past? The people will back those that back them. Will he and Congress learn from their mistakes? Time will tell.

    Mark Louis Weseloh
    Concerned Citizen

    This is a general comment, triggered by Bill Moyers' criticism of Democrats on Bill Maher's show recently.

    While Bill's criticisms are well founded, the rant in general was counterproductive. I think too many people will take from this that "they're all alike" and use that notion as an excuse not to vote next time.

    I'd love to see Bill use his prominent soapbox to tell stories of people triumphing over special interests. There are plenty of them.

    It's important to report on problems. But I think the Journal focuses too much on problems and not enough on solutions. Even attempted solutions that come up short are newsworthy, and convey to people that there really ARE things We the People can do to get our government back. The Journal could cover the 2000 race where Duluth, MN turned out 91% of its voters. It could cover underdog races that were won by the populist. Or report on the handful of American health care systems that work, such as Kaiser in CA.

    I have to say there have been many broadcasts of The Journal that I've not finished because I've had my fill of problems for which I don't know the solution.

    Show us some solutions, PLEASE!!

    The public option isn't the solution. All that does is cram the current system into a government run program. It isn't reform. What's the term these days..oh yes.. someone has to "grow a pair" and address the real problem which is the costs of specialist doctors and their over-usage, to make a very long story short.

    Michael Green: While what you observe is theoretically true the conservatives do have a point about "creeping socialism", and the tendency of the electorate to embrace what works. While I admire the people who run a small business doing the necessary tasks of society the large corporations do not. Not only is out political deck stacked against common sense socialism, and even against the survival of a community commons, but against small scale entrepreneurship and self-employment. Notice how few independent medical practitioners remain, and even these captive to large corporations. I am sure that if universal single payer ever took hold it would have an enlightening and educational effect. The next step would be the dismantling of global corporate capitalism and the institutions enabling it by any means possible.

    Some people read "Stone Soup" and some read "The Little Red Hen." Some read "Looking Backward" and some read "Atlas Shrugged." All are instructive archetypes, but none of them contains the comprehensive truth. Simplstic idealism can not solve the super-scaled and complex problems surrounding overgrown business institutions. Like a cap on wealth we need another cap on corporate organization. The corporation is nothing more than a device or vehicle that lets investors profit while avoiding responsibility. Maybe the world has outgrown this form. Medicine certainly has.

    Your commentary on universal health care is inspiring. The arguments against a decision-making system based on the profit motive - that is, one in which denial of coverage or benefits leads to greater profit - are powerful.

    My concern is that, as I have not heard articulated the rationale for this proper and necessary exception to the general approval of the capitalist model, incorporating this point in the larger health care discussion incites and invites knee-jerk reactions on the part of some listeners in defense of the capitalist model.

    One can be almost universally in favor of a capitalist model, and still understand that certain limited exceptions (e.g., national defense, police, fire, and, I submit, health care) are appropriate.

    Might a single payer approach to health care meet fewer objections if that point were more often made clear?

    I just watched Bill Moyers program on health care featuring Maggie Maher who presented Alex Gibneys film MONEY-DRIVEN MEDICINE.
    Bravo! A top-notch journalistic film you let be broadcast and a huge thanks to Mr.Moyers for beaming it across the American landscape!
    The program is still reverberating in this room!
    Thanks again for hosting the film. May the pen and the camera carry on without hindrance!
    J.S.Edmondson
    San Diego

    There is no purpose in half-reform. If something akin to HR 2300 comes across Obama's desk I'd rather he veto it because it would amount to a bailout for the medical-industrial complex. But President Obedient (formerly Obama) is not about to queer the deal.

    A checker game in the end is predictable in its possible moves. The player with the most kings (most wealth) finally traps the loser where the only possible alternatives are suicide. Death panels are a productive fiction because structural violence is demonstrated around all of us each day. People get quiet when lightning strikes close by. A tornado of extraction is passing over. Those of us without a storm cellar can only dive for the ditch.

    Dear Dr. Moyers:

    I always appreciate hearing your voice. Tonight, on the Bill Maher Show, you, and he too, expressed puzzlement about the president's meek response to the healthcare challange.
    In the course of your remarks you mentioned Blue Dog Democrats along with
    the profit motive driving health care here in this country. Yet, neither you nor Mr. Maher paid attention
    to the well-voiced anger that comes to the fore when we face issues of welfare and the common good. Recall the teeth grinding that went on during the latter Bush years when the issue was social security. (Recall the rage in the streets during the sixties--including the rage of the
    accomplices we call 'police'.)
    I suspect free floating anger runs deep within the American character. It is the sort of thing that allows us to send our sons and daughters to die in foreign lands and deny our fellow citizens a bit of common decency here at home. Katrina is another case in point, but so are the American Indians.

    I recall a bit of V.O. Key's analysis of political life: there are those in politics and those of wealth from whome we hear little in the way of emotion, and then there are those who though politically powerless, are envious of the little status they draw from the misery of others to themselves. The three have often found their common bed in American life. There, in that life, the latter, the real crowd, can be counted on to do the dirty work. It is this crowd that is a danger to our president. They are hear today, here yesterday, and will be here tomorrow-where here can be anywhere in the world and any time past, present, future.

    Sincerely
    John M. Giannone

    Re: The Absolute Necessity of the Public Option in Health Care

    Dear President Obama and Staff, Monday, August 17th, 2009

    This so-called democracy-but-really-an-oligarchy of ours is not working...there are just too many woefully uniformed, insanely misinformed and downright stupid-to-the-point-of-being-dangerous lunatics; these people do not know anything at all about any issue, particularly this nemesis, the health care industry. They, these utterly brainless, totally uneducated, irrational gun-toting and idiotic fear-mongering masses that comprise a full and startling HALF of this country's population, have nothing constructive to say or do as they and their unconscionable Republican SS commanders lie and bait and hate and monger incessantly. This is insanity.

    My question to you, President Obama, and to your staff: Do you really think it is in the peoples' best interest to cave in on and waste time bickering with fools? The paramount importance of the public option in health care reform is undeniable and must be irrevocable. That is why we, the rational and intelligent ones, i.e. the other half of the country, voted for you to be the supreme ruler and further, for you to steamroll heavily over the crazed nutcases who oppose you.

    And Another thing:

    Subject: ON BEING REPEATEDLY RAPED...I, for one, am sick of it...

    Insurance, particularly health care insurance, is the greatest scam in history. We pay thousands upon thousand of dollars each and every year and, increasingly, we get NO GOODS OR SERVICES. In essence, we pay out billions of dollars each and every year for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. We are in fact, making a handful of these huge industry titans, i.e. the top echelon CEO's CFO's, etc. of the so-called health care industry, a veritable FORTUNE.

    Simply stated, when any industry is driven by profit and profit alone, AS IS HEALTH CARE, they, the greedy and unconscionable controllers of the industry, reap dizzying and obscene amounts of money. WE, on the other hand, LOSE consistently and constantly. Profit-driven health care is an absolute NEMESIS.

    As this health care industry makes record profits from not providing health care to those who pay for health care, the industry also becomes much stronger and much more influential (witness the ULTRA-powerful and ULTRA-wealthy lobbyists who fight tooth and nail to keep things the way they are).

    How long does it take the average person to figure out that we are all getting UTTERLY and UNABASHEDLY RAPED????

    Cheers,

    Christina Marlowe

    And by the way...

    To the Politicians, Republican and Democrat alike:

    It is unthinkable that there are so many Democratic obstructionists, not to mention the old fear mongering by the Republicans and Democrats alike. We, the American people, voted for OBAMA, in large part because he promised to effect systemic and CONCRETE change in several areas, not the least of which is the health care system which is utterly failing us all; all, that is, except for you politicians who enjoy full, lifetime health care benefits on our tax dollars. This is simply criminal that there are so many belligerent obstructionists in both parties. I will never forgive any of them who are casting their lot with the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. It is simply disgusting. Did you not read the recent WSJ poll which stated that a full 76% of American citizens want the public option? And is it that you really don't care WHAT we want?

    Irately Yours,

    Christina Marlowe

    P.S. PLEASE, NO MORE MISTER NICE GUY!!

    Yes, on the public option. I think it is imperative politically, to roll back the lies promulgated by the Right and to re-energize Obama's supporters now sliding into cynicism.

    What is puzzling is Obama's inability to simply state the principles of his program. Too many words lead to confusion. When you're faced with the power of phrases like "death panels" you have to be succinct. You have to replace that scary image with a healthier image grounded in reality.

    I know the public option seems risky, in terms of costs. But only if you fail to consider actual costs of the present system. Where are those numbers? Neglecting people's care has a cost - it's just not called a "health care cost." But we pay for it just the same.

    I had such hope when I read that the Democrats in Congress were prepared to go it alone. Then, Obama waffled again. Doesn't he understand that by being strong and making this one item non-negotiable, he attracts bipartisan support? There are, after all, reasonable people on the other side of the aisle. They may than move past those who say nothing is negotiable, which is where things stand now.

    Jack Martin wrote, in part, "If anyone cares for an interview (Grady's grant is running out.) either recorded or confidential contact Figgersinstitute@yahoo.com
    and state your case."

    Jack,

    I have no case to state. I get involved at a time and place of my own choosing and it is never on behalf of any "affiliation". I represent the human individual.

    As a matter of fact, I have often seen my "personhood" be projected out through all the different forms of "identity theft" that has recently been utilized by propagandists - in simple terms - my words come out pundit's mouths on a pretty regular basis - most recent was the whole "mercy" schtick spewed by that Scot who released the Libyan (did you catch the news that Momar is planning to stay at his dacha in Englewood NJ? Talk about locals being priced out of the hometowns that THEY BUILT!)

    There is enough "evidence" to support the reality of my personhood - been on TV offering free "operations" advice to the city council's hopelessly incompetant consultant running up costs on a sewer project, had a once a month TV show geared to absolute beginner star gazers, and been in newspaper print more than once back in NJ when I got recycling going in a town that was definitely a precurser incident to the insanity of scientific discussion about the environment that has since ensued - without ego I believe that the loss of cogent argument AGAINST recycling was never forgotten as one of the people involved in that first debate (who LOST the debate) back in the 1980s went on to be a "spokesperson" for "affiliations" with the oil industry.

    With the re-writing of FISA laws by the Bush cabal, I have been mercilessly hounded by people involved in CIA Mkultra activities ebcause I read The Urantia Book - scheesh. I was actually relieved to see two of them show up on the blogs here - "...just because you are paranoid does not mean that they aren't after you..." Whew, I'm NOT nuts :-)) So, Jack, go ask homeland insecurity for the WHC (watch her closely) file on me - I've been recreated to be projected as a threat to their hell-building.

    That's about the only "case" I can state right now - how there is a WAR against the "good folk". The play-by-the-rules types - make NEEDED changes publically and through the existing institutions of "government" that USED to be in existence to protect ME, the individual, against force and fraud.

    Here's facts fromm my current life status indicating methodical destruction of everything material I possess in order to pay for the "vatican" built in Baghdad:

    I haven't been able to find a decent project in over a year now (after 15 years in medical research); the large black garbage bag full of letters sent to my home in AZ to get me to switch into some kind of sub-prime scheme did NOT interest the local FBI back in 2005 and the fact that I was not fooled by predators just means that Wells Fargo is going to do their dirty work, instead; IRS is after me, also...man, just WHO is at the IRS in the department that reviews stock sales - YIKES! I never actually bought stocks, myself, they have been thrust upon me by corps when they say bye-bye and thanks for your services - and then boing - the IRS is claiming I owe 5K in "taxes" on 3K of stock - wha'?!

    So now all this personal psycho-logical de-mental torture at the hands of social engineering nut jobs claiming holier than thou status because they demand a "civilized tone" when discussing the medical definition of torture is a clear indication, to NORMAL minded people, that "we the people" are under attack by LOONS.

    I'm not a saint, by any stretch of the imagination, so I do have those moments of mental sinning when I indulge in the fantasy of a high noon shoot out on Main Street with the spooks in the shadows who are hell bent on leaving me to a long, painful and homeless death in the desert artfully engineered by pharisaitical attention to "details" in the "process" of "law".

    Mano et mano, I can win the shoot out, no question about it. But through their electronic surveillance use of weapon of mass destruction for personal destruction, I ain't got a chance, do I?

    Oh yeah, I believe one group has black listed me because they tortured evidence into a case for me being "anti-semitic", another group has me down as a commie, and the latest is the one that really cracks me up - I'm also now a homophobe - wha'?!

    So, Jack, what is in it for me to get on YOUR videotape - it would just be added to the WHC file - wouldn't it?

    They've got enough to work with already...

    I will only allow myself to be used for keeping a laser like focus on what government's only reason for existence IS - that is to protect the HUMAN INDIVIDUAL (NOT "corporations") against force and fraud.

    Affiliate with that FACT and I'll meet with you and Grady.

    Carl,
    I wish you all the best of luck.
    This was a bitterly fought issue up here once also.

    Our system does have some problems.

    Copying best practices of the American model, my Dr is paid to keep me healthy but most here are still paid per (brief) patient visit.
    We still aren't training enough Dr's.
    Dividing responsibility for health care between two levels of government was a terrible mistake.
    Our system started out as Hospital Insurance, basically coverage for serious accidents and diseases. Demands on the system seem to always increase just a little more than the funding.
    I admire the courage shown in some American jurisdictions where the people responsible have discussed limits in plain english, and taken responsibility for their decisions.

    There is no good reason why you can't improve on how things are done here.


    Even people as well-informed as Mr. Moyers do not seem to realize how desperately critical our healthcare situation is. I urge you all to read this very thoughtful interview on how close our medical "system" is to irremediable collapse:
    http://sustainablemedicine.org/2009/07/peakoilandsustainablemedicinepart1/

    By now we are reliably certain that Congress will reject single-payer (recently downgraded to "a public option") in favor of either an expensive insurance industry monopoly that compels participation, or no plan at all. The insurance industry knows that people are beginning to reason that if we are to pay extortionate premiums only to be denied coverage, why bother paying the premiums? The industry will really have it all if everyone is compelled to buy in; more profits, with government back-stopping, not unlike that worked out by the finance sector of the FIRE economy. You set a fine example, Mr. Bernanke.

    For-Profit healthcare is not for the Patient. Paying for a government/insurance industry protection racket will be a challenge for us all as we enter the Greater Depression.

    For our own health and safety, we ourselves need to consider a Plan B. Might I suggest cutting the industry out? The local formation of non-profit clinics and the formation of benevolent organizations similar to those of the nineteenth century--like minded people supporting each other on a local level--could eliminate corporate insurance as we now know it altogether. It's going to happen anyway. Let's just do it ourselves, now. Now that's a radical idea the insurance industry does not want you to even THINK about.

    Anna D. and several other admirable and intelligent sounding commentators on this blog have refused to confirm their individual personhood by meeting with me at a place of their choosing and at their convenience. I know contact with the disembodied is frightening because posters often misidentify themselves (often with good reason).
    Bill Moyers has read or played short quotes but has yet to meet with even the most harmless among us. Screening through agents, publishers, promoters and friendship networks seems to be procedural. If anyone cares for an interview (Grady's grant is running out.) either recorded or confidential contact Figgersinstitute@yahoo.com
    and state your case. Resultant material will remain in the public domain and no one will profit. We will submit a copy and a report to Moyers when the project ends Dec. 31st.

    Anna is right that individuals make the choice to be just and generous, or to be greedy and callous. What she neglects to say is that people collude and cheat and that most structural crime is generated by group interests. It succeeds and continues because the individual victims are afraid and have limited resources. They fail to organize as their tormentors do. What is normal for the wealthy is perverse, or merely envied, among the poor.

    Anna does not reveal her affiliations and may not require any. Most people on this blog speak directly or obliquely from shared group interest. I am part of a financially disempowered group who try to substitute creativity and stealth as a matter of resistance to fascist oligarchy. How about you?

    Emilia wrote, in part, "This country is only rich b/c it takes from its citizens."

    Nice rant, overall :-) I, and MILLIONS of others, do feel your pain...

    As the propagandists and "spokespeople" for the psychotics and sociopaths continue to murmur across the airwaves at the "stupid" masses who created the wealth that THEY stole - "words matter".

    Instead of "country", there are NAMES of individuals that NEED to be referenced as the thieves who STOLE from the citizens. It's people, Emilia. It's NOT a thing like "country".

    45 million uninsured people is in plain terms, sick!!!! It is digusting that our health care industry is only a profit making machine! This country is only rich b/c it takes from its citizens. It takes in the form of taxes and poorly distributed subsidies, it takes b/c it feeds its people horrible and practically criminal food as in junk food, fast food processed food, it takes b/c it makes its citizens believe that it is more important to have things like nice cars, like Target store junk, clothes, gadgets and frivelous things rather than healthy food and having to exercise, meditate, commune with our community and take well deserved vacations, it takes b/c most Americans aren't allowed to take vacations from work, it takes b/c it makes its citizens believe that just to have a job is good enough for the soul; rather than to feed our individual soul, it takes b/c it feeds its citizens so many lies about what freedom means. Freedom does not mean choose b/w 200 boxes of Kelloggs cereal, it means taking care of oneself...but unfortunately only a few are equipped with the fortitude to make such "independent" choices. And you wonder why so many people are ill? Don't you see that it is big business that is killing us? Big business is Kraft, is Con Agra, is the Media and its advertisements, is McDonalds, is the US dept. of Agriculture that allows companies to feed us hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, colors, chemical agents of every kind in food in personal hygene products in household products, in our water supply...everywhere, pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, GMO. And you the government is so big, powerful and impervious to the suffering of its people. Behind the scenes you sit and lie in bed with big business to get elected and then in front of the world you paint a picture of publicity, pros and cons, arguments when really you are bashing in our heads with the runaround! It makes me sick to my stomach. Watch Bill Moyers from 8/21/09 and you will see, read "Healthy at 100" by John Robbins and you will see what it takes to be a healthy country and what it takes to care for a country's people. This country has become a dog eat dog world where unless you were born into priviledge, you are out on a limb. In this country, the class system has been revived; it is alive and well. Shame on us all!

    Ron.

    Thank you for posting and glad to hear you have some of that rare breed. I thought they were extinct. Maybe you could ship us some and we could breed more of them in this country. Glad to hear that in your neck of the woods you have thoughtful Conservatives. By the way what do the ones who proposed privatization call themselves?

    Our Provincial government here in Alberta Canada held public meetings around the issue of privatising more health care services.
    This is the most conservative of Canadian provinces, and people were interested in the idea. The consensus in the local papers was "show us the business plan explaining how this is going to save us money, and you have our support"
    As it happened, supporters of privatization didn't have a business case. What they had was a political preference.
    Sensible Conservatives defeated the effort to privatise.

    I wholeheartedly disagree with the assumption that, "if it(a public option) is working everyone will run to it and flood the system." We won't see the full effects of that for at least several years. Those with employer sponsored plans should be encouraged to and probably will keep them and companies should be subsidized so that they are paying no more than they currently pay with subsidies covering additional increases. Phase in the ability to "opt in" through a triage type system. Uninsured and those paying over a certain percentage of income to healthcare should be in the first wave small employers less than X number of employees the next group and then phase in the remainder that want to choose the public option. The insurance companies could still make a profit but that and total compensation for executives would have reasonable ceilings on them and couldn't decline anyone or downgrade coverage. Over time both changing jobs, demographics,etc. would change the dynamics somewhat and at some point private insurance would become to expensive for to subsidize and would either die or only be used by the very wealthy. Transition is hardly ever easy. I'm sure the Industrial Age disappointed/angered/upset some. as probably did the shift from coal to oil and gas and as we now again as we move to different energy sources. While the changeover may have been bothersome for a time and required massive rethinking and definitely upset the status quo how many of us really want to go back to a time before what we are now accustomed to? Probably not many! Healthcare is no different. We AND technology have changed greatly in the last 50 years. It is time for our healthcare to "catch up" to the times we NOW live in.

    The "Healthsteria" that has gripped America is so very disheartening. With the millions of Americans loosing their homes, or finding themselves underwater with a devalued property, as big banks and mortgage brokerage copies walk away with profits and bonuses. More millions have lost their jobs, as Corporate America lops off large vestiges of their workforce, just to pad the bottom-line, and deliver dividends to the share holders. With this economic nightmare that has sent shockwaves through Wall Street, and continues to unleash a drowning tidal wave on Main Street, just the thought of a Healthcare system that puts the care back into Healthcare, offered a tiny glimmer of hope. Then the nay-Sayers began to chant the Public Option was about to throw Mama from the train in her twilight hours. As I watched the Bill Moyer show featuring Mr. Wendell Potter, the former chief corporate spokesman for Cigna, I wondered how many Americans got the opportunity to view this broadcast. I wanted it to be mandatory viewing at all public forum discussions on Healthcare Reform. I wanted it to be broadcast day and night like one of those less than blockbuster movies that cable TV puts into a continuous loop of air time.

    I tried to reassure myself and say that the American people are not as ignorant as the Big Insurance industry would believe them to be, that they would see clear the smoke and mirrors, that they would indeed pay attention to the man behind the curtain. I tried to convince myself that they would see, as Mr. Potter’s presentation so clearly showed, who was pulling the purse strings, and speaking through these ventriloquist dummies, more commonly known as conservative politicians, and those who now have let the Blue Dogs out. But as the weeks have passed, and the heckling calls failed to die down, what saddened me so, is that there are many poor Americans who have been duped by all the fear mongering and have brandished the Anti Health Reform regalia, to the chant of the party line!

    How I know with all my heart, that so many of the well intended Anti-Health Reformists could benefit personally, if not have a dear loved one benefit, from caring health system. Yet, I am reminded that not so many generations ago hysteria swept many as Orson Wells read the War of the World, over the air waves. Should I be surprised by the waves of panic that now sweep many over this modern day War of the Words.

    How I just wish there could be a young child, who would yell it out, to all of the highly intellectual conservative thinkers and their adherents, that the cloth of the argument that now cloaks the Insurance Empire as being the best healthcare delivery system in the world, that shrouds all those who rally to this rant, is in reality devoid of any substance at all, and will leave all of America naked and openly exposed to the status quo that keeps rewarding big business, as they continue to give the small guy (or the little boy) if you will, the business!!!

    The "Healthsteria" that has gripped America is so very disheartening. With the million of Americans loosing their homes, or finding themselves underwater with a devalued property, as big banks and mortgage brokerage copies walk away with profits and bonuses. More millions have lost their jobs, as Corporate America lops off large vestiges of their workforce, just to pad the bottom-line, and deliver dividends to the share holders. With this economic nightmare that has sent shockwaves through Wall Street, and continues to unleash a drowning tidal wave on Main Street, just the thought of a Healthcare system that puts the care back into Healthcare, offered a tiny glimmer of hope. Then the nay-Sayers began to chant the Public Option was about to throw Mama from the train in her twilight hours. As I watched the Bill Moyer show featuring Mr. Wendell Potter, the former chief corporate spokesman for Cigna, I wondered how many Americans got the opportunity to view this broadcast. I wanted it to be mandatory viewing at all public forum discussions on Healthcare Reform. I wanted it to be broadcast day and night like one of those less than blockbuster movies that cable TV puts into a continuous loop of air time.

    I tried to reassure myself and say that the American people are not as ignorant as the Big Insurance industry would believe them to be, that they would see clear the smoke and mirrors, that they would indeed pay attention to the man behind the curtain. I tried to convince myself that they would see, as Mr. Potter’s presentation so clearly showed, who was pulling the purse strings, and speaking through these ventriloquist dummies, more commonly known as conservative politicians, and those who now have let the Blue Dogs out. But as the weeks have passed, and the heckling calls failed to die down, what saddened me so, is that there are many poor Americans who have been duped by all the fear mongering and have brandished the Anti Health Reform regalia, to the chant of the party line!

    How I know with all my heart, that so many of the well intended Anti-Health Reformists could benefit personally, if not have a dear loved one benefit, from caring health system. Yet, I am reminded that not so many generations ago hysteria swept many as Orson Wells read the War of the World, over the air waves. Should I be surprised by the waves of panic that now sweep many over this modern day War of the Words.

    How I just wish there could be a young child, who would yell it out, to all of the highly intellectual conservative thinkers and their adherents, that the cloth of the argument that now cloaks the Insurance Empire as being the best healthcare delivery system in the world, that shrouds all those who rally to this rant, is in reality devoid of any substance at all, and will leave all of America naked and openly exposed to the status quo that keeps rewarding big business, as they continue to give the small guy (or the little boy) if you will, the business!!!

    To Michael Williams, MD,

    I am the right-brain guy involved in that left-brain, right-brain discussion you were responding to. Let me see if I can explain why the American solution to the healthcare problem is required to be unique.

    We modern Americans did not design our system of government or the basics of the American culture; we inherited those things; things started by the people who founded this nation. That first batch of United States citizens grew up in a society where right-brainers were the norm, where we modern Americans live in a society dominated by left-brain thinking.

    When the people who started this nation knew they had to come up with a new government they assigned the task to people who grew up using right-brain problem solving methods. The group assigned the task of coming up with a stable system of self-government needed to design something that would gain a wide consensus in regards to the proposed new government. And they needed to do that without the aid of any of our modern communication technology. Reaching a wide consensus, over great distances, without communicating in any way, or using any verbal or visual communication systems, is a right-brain kind of skill.

    There were also lots of different interest groups with differing opinions on how the new government should be set up. And the Designers were mindful of how other governmental systems went bad and became destructive. So the Designers needed to deal with lots of things in a simultaneous fashion, another right-brain skill.

    Right-brainers tend to find big-picture solutions that are based on patterns and relationships. And so the new governmental system that the Designers came up with was set up to reject any invasive governmental systems that fit particular patterns. So parts of the design work in an autonomic sort of way because of the American society that the design came from.

    The American system of government and the society that evolved around it since that government was adopted, were designed to reject a government-run universal healthcare system. The people who designed and implemented our form of government weren’t clairvoyant and they weren’t trying to rule out universal healthcare specifically. But they needed to implement a stable form of self-government and the basic system design they came up with rejects and excludes certain classes of governmental systems based on a fit to a pattern. Limited forms of government-run healthcare can be adopted, but government-run universal healthcare triggers the equivalent of an immune system response in a sizeable percentage of American society because that type of healthcare system fits the pattern of an excluded form of centralized government. That American immune system is still sufficiently intact, at the national level, to work as designed.

    It really doesn’t matter how well the healthcare systems of other nations work, the American form of government and the American culture that evolved over time contain autonomic systems that are incompatible with and reject those types of healthcare systems. If the insurance companies ceased all lobbying efforts the U.S. would still not adopt government-run universal healthcare because our system was set up to reject solutions of that pattern type.

    The people who want the U.S. to adopt a universal healthcare system are trying to give America a heart transplant. They view the current system as one with a defective heart; not caring enough about the healthcare of citizens. But you cannot simply do the surgery and implant the heart of other nations into the body of the American system. The Designers had to set the system up to be stable and ward off invasive patterns of government. Our system was designed with an autonomic immune system that still serves as a vital part of the American system as a whole. The kind of transplant that the universal healthcare proponents are suggesting for the U.S. would be harmful to the American system as a whole and it will be rejected.

    If there is any healthcare reform it won’t contain government-run universal healthcare; it’s not an available option in the modern American system because the American immune system is still operating to ward off invading systems according to the original design. The healthcare reform might expand the government-run system but the private insurance system will continue to be a part of the healthcare system for the majority of Americans for the foreseeable future.

    Our solution to the healthcare problem must be different from the systems adopted by other nations because the American system design requires it to be different.

    (By the way, you mentioned that diabetics shouldn’t have to choose between eating and controlling their diabetes. I have read that the state of Alabama is implementing a solution to that problem. The state is requiring people insured by the state to be tested for things like diabetes. And once all of that forced testing is done the diabetics will have the state make the eating/controlling-diabetes choice for them. The diabetics will be required by the state to choose controlling their diabetes and that solves the problem. If people don’t take the steps required to control their diabetes they will be punished by the state with an added fee. It is a simple and elegant governmental solution to the problem of people having to choose; force people to choose the option that the state thinks is best. It’s a financial win/win setup for the state. Of course, it might not be a win for the people who would choose to spend their money on eating, or clothing, or shelter, or...)

    Opponents have expressed concerns that the health care reform will take away their freedom to choose the doctors/treatment they need. But I haven’t experienced much freedom to choose, and I pay for my medical insurance and I have what is considered by some “pretty decent insurance”. Two years ago, I had surgery. The surgeon that I needed to see was NOT covered under my insurance plan and after PAYING my hard earned dollars to the insurance company I did not have the FREEDOM to choose anything. And this was not some kind of frivolous cosmetic surgery. I had a precancerous lump in my breast that needed to be removed. The insurance company did not contribute one cent to my surgery. I ended up paying over $5000 out of pocket and that did not include the hidden hospital fees and the consultations. Where’s the freedom to choose? I was not looking for “welfare”. Hell, I pay for my insurance and feel I should have the freedom to choose any doctor of any specialty I want but what I get is a small list of doctors to choose from who may or may not be good doctors or the doctors I need. Freedom to choose? Yeah, right! Health insurance companies, not its customers, have the freedom to choose. They can choose not to cover life saving treatment or medications deemed “too expensive”. They can choose to penalize you or not offer coverage because of pre-existing conditions. They can choose to drop your coverage without explanations. They can choose to skyrocket your premiums overnight and still offer substandard services if you get any service at all. But I see no one busting down the town hall doors or interrupting congressional sessions to protest that which would make more sense. And last, the people protesting the health care reform should realize that since we are in the midst of a recession and companies are cutting back on expenses, they could be the very ones whose employers might decide to cut their health insurance. What will happen to their freedom to choose when they are stuck without health care?

    I worked at Aetna in IT, unitl I was job eliminated because 3 outsourced Indians are cheaper. They keep a close eye on Medical Cost Ratios, especially in the Medicare Drug plans. I assume that they will be dropping out of those, just like they did with Medicare Managed Care, as soon as the profits start to slip.
    We NEED a National Health Plan, and every senior who protests against it, and every member of Congress who won't vote for it, should be forced to give up their plans (Medicare and Gov't) and try and get coverage on the open market.
    We should be ashamed!

    You Christian Baptist ministers, Mormon priests, Catholic priests, bishops, and cardinals, Jehovah Witness ministers, Pentecost ministers…etc from the left or the right where are YOU? You know there are Americans without medical care.

    45 million rotting, suffering, and dieing Americans NEED YOU.

    Who else but you should speak for them?

    Baptist Minister Martin Luther King took up the calling to speak for a people that were rotting, suffering, and dieing. He did it in defiance of government, law, governors, politicians, and all those that would continue segregation. He did not do it for the power, riches, attention of the rich and powerful, or notoriety. He did it because millions of rotting, suffering, and dieing persecuted Americans had no one to speak for them.

    Do not wonder that the young of this country are starting to ignore your Christian religion. They see you in your clean Italian suit or gaudy vestment, speaking from your air-conditioned beautifully decked out church or temple with its wonderful stain gassed windows, smiling into the camera. Oh yes, they see you, and they hear you. They hear all you have to say about Christian ethics, compassion for the poor…etc and they know that they are just words.

    Is there not even one of you Christian leaders that will take up Martin Luther King’s calling to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves? “He” cannot do this. We know the burden. Many will attack and hurt you. You may not get there.

    Is there not one of you to take up this burden? 45 million rotting, suffering, and dieing Americans NEED YOU.

    For you Christian leaders, when Christ comes to your temple and lashes the moneychangers from your temple steps, when you look into your heart do you see welts?

    The young see them.

    If the police dept. worked as a private enterprise, would we be against similar discussions toward a "public" option? How about the fire dept? Doesn't health care fit more along the lines of fire and police departments than a wall st. conglomerate? I believe health care really is a social issue.

    Surefire guy -

    Your question is illogical.

    how would 'capitalist abuses' exist in 'socialized healthcare'? (using your words)

    Do you agree that Medicare takes care of the most sick (and therefore most expensive)
    people in our society? Do you acknowledge that private insurance companies work hard
    to make sure they only deal with those who arent very sick? Medicare wouldnt have
    such budget problems if it cherry picked healthy people like the insurance companies do.

    We currently spend 2.5 trillion per year on healthcare. Last year we spent 2.2 trillion.
    Its projected to be 5.5 trillion in ten years.
    Insurance premiums have more than doubled in the last ten years. In 2008, it is estimated
    that 22,000 Americans died due to lack of healthcare. That number will surely grow if we
    do nothing. Insurance premiums will continue to grow. 60% of all bankruptcies originated as
    medical problems.

    Are we on the right course in your opinion?

    We spend twice as much as any other country and we rank far behind in life expectancy and
    infant mortality. Whatever we are doing, we can surely do better.

    Our current system is killing American citizens. and bankrupting lots of other Americans.

    Industry should serve people not people serve industry...
    Life is al about people not machines or industry.
    Providing people's health care should be a social service not an industry.
    Private or public service; it should be regulated to assure the best possible treatment for everyone. People's health should be this nation's first priority not the "no Way"
    priority.

    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I completely understand your side of the story. There have been many abuses in this capitalist system we have... My concern is that, if health care were socialized, the abuses would abound even greater. Any thoughts?

    To all this talk about left and right brains someone brings the metaphor of bows and arrows. The arrow through the head (just behind the ears, a magician's prop) comes to mind. Neither thing has any relation to a public option for health care. If you are a navel gazer playing with your own medulla, please ask Bill Moyers to open a special back page for you to trade irrelevant observations. Meanwhile examine HR 676, the only viable proposal so far to reform American medical care delivery.

    We the taxpaying people demand to get the same health care as we are paying for!! Just like the president,senators etc,etc, period!!!!!

    John: You say Republicans: I am not a Republican, but I beg to insist that the paid and organized hooligans and macoutes who shout down pubic discourse are not representative of people who may be registered to vote as Republicans. Now I wonder why real Republicans are not more outspoken against them but I well understand that they are organized and financed by corporate interests as well as right wing fascist organizations who would like our democracy to be completely overthrown in favor of corporate governance. We already have systematic structural violence by oligarchic forces causing euthanasia by default, so euthanasia is hardly a condition to be prevented by these forces.

    Where do these hooligans come from? Many are single issue campaigners borrowed from narrow causes. (pro-gun, anti-immigration, right to life, Christian taliban) These issues seem on hiatus until human rights issues can be derailed. I look for recruiting centers to open as ultra conservative troops are thinly deployed and so cannot meet their pro-corporate obligations. It takes time and a big payroll to keep these things going. Just ask the many associates of Jack Abramoff.

    The anti-discourse pattern originates in the right to life movement. (I speak as a person who would like to minimize the need for abortion through birth control, autonomy of the body and a social safety net.) Threatening and abusive behavior, self-righteousness allowing interference with other people's bodies and escalating ideology have resulted in bombings and assassinations. Organizers are well aware of such history and do not hesitate to use it. It parallels the ruthless anti-labor violence sponsored by corporate business.

    Class is a factor. If I were a person who worshipped the human potential of embryos I would protest first at the fertility clinics where disposable zygotes are created and disposed en masse. They prefer the abortion clinic where the clients are less affluent and more easily abused and criticized. These fast food eating low waged fanatics halt in their God fearing tracks before affluence. There must be something in their success ethic religion, where God plays favorites, that serves as a repellant. I wish I could get some in an aerosol can!

    Peter Berger was on Diane Rehm's show today touting a new book about healthy doubt. He asserted that people should retain enough doubt in political positions to be capable of considering the interests and point of view of others. Berger went so far as to say President Obama is too adamant in his views. I hadn't thought of that, but it may be so. Obama may be too pro-corporate and too pro-capitalist, just as the promoters of disruption have proven to be. What a shame in a country overdue for single payer health insurance. I don't think I'm too extreme in that I have my doubts. But I must emphasize that I want good health care for everyone including the disrupters. Couldn't we just give it a try. We'd be no worse off...

    “No one is looking to KILL senior citizens.....”

    I beg to differ with anyone that believes that.

    The part of the Healthcare Bill that the Republicans say has all that degusting death of the elderly, euthanasia, death by rationing, death by denial of medical care…etc was introduced by amendment into the Healthcare Bill by the Republicans.

    What the Republicans say is the intent of their amendment is public record.

    Who better to tell you what that part of the Healthcare Bill has in it than the Republicans that created it?

    The Republicans have spent millions, expended endless hours on radio talk shows, leading Republicans have spoken over and over; all to explain to the American people what “their” amendment means for the elderly.

    How much screaming, ranting, and raving do the Republicans have to do to get recognition for their publicly proclaimed agenda for the elderly?

    America, you should be ashamed of yourself. 50 million uninsured and growing. More under insured and bankrupt everyday. For many, particularly children and young adults, the only access they have is the emergency room - or traveling 3rd world style free clinics. The costs of which must then be allocated to the rest of us. What kind of a legacy is that? We have created a system where doctors get paid for services rather than outcomes, where prevention is essentially non-existent, and where we'd rather pop a pill than take responsibility for our own life styles that lack both exercise and a proper diet. And we certainly are seeing the impact of replacing civic education with a 24 hour news cycle and constant reality television. Civility is dead. When did we begin to replace pride in our government with conspiracy theories. When did we reverse JFK's "Ask Not", substituting personal selfishness and the immediate acceptance of talking heads misinformation. Rather than invest in our own society, we'd rather perpetuate a system where we hand billions over to for-profit insurance companies that deny care, pharmaceutical companies that focus more on impotence than the eradication of disease, and physician specialists who never tell you what procedures are going to cost nor have any real threat of competition - which is why many make more than $700k a year. Call it what you will, but those are the true taxes on society and they’re growing unsustainably. That's the real tax we pay.


    The rest of the world is
    HAVING UNIVERSAL CARE. This is Government Healthcare for the whole of the country.

    Why not the US of A?.

    So what is the "public option?" How would it work? I have heard it described as an extension of Medicaid. I have also heard of it described as offering the same plans as government employees. Well which one is it? There is a big difference.

    D.C. Eddy,

    If there is any one the elderly should fear it is the Republicans.

    As far as I know they are the only ones that have as their agenda death of the elderly, euthanasia, death by rationing, death by denial of medical care…etc.

    The part of the Healthcare Bill that they say has all that degusting stuff was a “Republican amendment”. What they say was the intent of their amendment is public record.

    I’ll say it again:

    Who better to tell you what the intent of an amendment is than those that created it.

    Steve G,
    You are right, we need to get back to "one Nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all".
    "All" does not mean only the rich and powerful. It should be considered criminal to deceive people and to steal their retirement investments.
    Without sufficient Health Care; liberty becomes meaningless.

    John,
    It sounds to me like the Republicans are using President Obama's effort to include Republicans in writing the Health Care Bill to undermine the bill.
    I think the Republicans need to see a priest about exorcism. Undermining people's health care sounds like evil to me.

    The Republicans introduced, as an amendment, the pages of the House and Senate Healthcare bills that deal with living wills. A group of Republicans led by Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia crafted, wrote, and introduced that amendment

    We know what the Republicans say that their section of the bill is intended to accomplish, death of the elderly, euthanasia, death by rationing, death by denial of medical care for the elderly…etc.

    The Republicans introduced by amendment those pages. What they intended their amendment to accomplish is public record.

    Who better to tell you what the intent of an amendment is than those that created it.

    For those of you that are worried for the elderly, the final wording of that amendment had all that disgusting death of the elderly, euthanasia, death by rationing, death by denial of medical care for the elderly…etc. stripped out.
    Not one scrap survived. You have the Democrats to thank.

    I have read the final wording in the bill that deals with living wills. Not one scrap of what the Republicans intended for the elderly survived.

    D. C. Eddy,

    “Until we can arrive at some kind of common understanding, we are going to be in a world of hurt.”-D.C.

    Ain’t that the truth.

    “I understand that there is overlap in the right brain and the left brain hemispheres...
    However, there are some important implications that are applicable to the problem of conflict between the conservative and the liberal mind set that is dividing our nation.”-D.C.

    America has been operating in left-brain mode for a long time, and the conservatives and the liberals both seem to suffer from the same distorted left-brain thought process. It’s very logical and linear, step-by-step thinking where everything is some sort of symbol and a distortion of reality. It tends to be a very limited view when compared to the big picture right-brain viewpoint.

    “We are creating sociopathic people who have no concern for human survival.”-D.C.

    Perhaps. But it looks like more of a restricted concern rather than no concern. A concern that often focuses on the survival of one particular group rather than all groups.

    In the healthcare debate, there are well-intentioned people whose sole focus is on the healthcare concerns of the poor or disadvantaged. But the poor have more concerns than just their health and there are other groups with equally valid concerns.

    People seem to be coming at the healthcare problem with a left-brain logical version of empathy, even though empathy is more of a right-brain thing. They are empathetic to one group and not empathetic to the other groups or to any of the other needs.

    “We are inundated with propaganda that is undermining the stability of our nation.”-D.C.Eddy

    And that propaganda is coming from liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. Time and time again I have seen it, people substituting their political ideology for thought and reason. Look at what the people posting here do.

    If any person of a different political ideology posts something then that person gets branded as evil or an idiotic puppet of the opposite ideology. Since this place tends to be populated by liberals, the liberals trash any opposing conservative opinion as one that must be based on ignorance. The liberals have decided that it isn’t possible for anybody to have a good reason to differ with the liberals. The liberals have decided in advance that the only possible solution to the healthcare problem is their solution. If you went to a more conservative blog the same sort of trashing would be happening to the liberals.

    It is all mindless, senseless, ideological nonsense.

    The civil war attitudes of liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans are destroying this nation. And both liberals and conservatives share in the blame for the lack of resolution to the healthcare problem. Liberals love to trash the evil insurance companies because the insurers put profit over human life.

    Well why is it so much better to put political ideology over human life? Is the liberal ideology so precious that it cannot bend in the least bit to save lives? NO! It’s government-run universal care or nothing! No other solution is possible and we know this to be a fact because our liberal ideology says it must be so. We liberals know what is best. We cannot get along with those conservative fools. Anyone who disagrees with us all-knowing liberals must be ignorant; must be duped by the insurance lobby.

    And the same silliness happens with the conservatives.

    Both the liberals and the conservatives have decided that their precious ideology is more important than saving American lives.

    “We are creating sociopathic people who have no concern for human survival.”-D.C.

    Perhaps. If so, they are called liberals and conservatives.

    “Until we can arrive at some kind of common understanding, we are going to be in a world of hurt.”-D.C.

    Ain’t that the truth.

    I can not believe the fear in people concerning president's fight for health care for all people. I live in Minnesota and know people on the state health care plans and they are no different than other plans, there is no waiting, if you need an MRI you get an MRI just like anyone else would. I just wish more people could qualify for it and it sounds like they would if we had a universal health care plan. Stop buying into the fear tactics! It should be everyone's right. Education is pretty good too. It's the problems that make it difficult to teach - family problems and behavior problems that are dumped on teachers that's the problem!

    For those who are taking part in the left-brain, right-brain discussion: I think somewhere in between is the correct answer as one of you (I think) alluded to. As a former government official in DC deeply involved in health care, I can report that none of the bills mentioned so far have a chance of improving health care without a public plan that not only pays for services but also supplies the workforce to deliver them. Similar to the many National Health Services around the world. We have a 90% covered rate in the District, we've had it for approximately 10 years. We also have some of the worst health outcomes in the world and likely the worst in the developed world. As is infrequently pointed out, coverage is not care.

    As for a uniquely American solution, our solution has been to treat health care as a commodity. This only works if you have coin of the realm to spend. 20% or so of our population routinely choose between food and medications, office visits and work. We must remember that this discussion must be about making certain that humans have the ability to stay healthy and return to health when they become ill, without having to decide between eating and controlling their Diabetes. As a physician who provides services for those very people, I can authoritatively tell you that that occurs every day in a country with vast wealth. For those of you who decry government-managed programs I have two requests:

    1. Name a US government-run program that has harmed you or someone you know. Not inconvenienced, not frustrated, but actually harmed.

    2. Name one country that runs a government health system in which citizens have to routinely choose between food, shelter or health care on a daily basis.

    No, I don't want to hear about waiting for procedures or surgeries. As a doubly board certified surgeon, I'm here to tell you that waiting is not always bad and conversely, if you can in fact wait six months for a procedure, there was no urgent need for it. That is a uniquely American phenomenon wherein waiting is equated with bad.

    Sign these single payer petitions

    http://bit.ly/single_payer_ross

    http://bit.ly/HR676


    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/07/weekend-opinionator-a-sick-debate/

    August 7, 2009, 8:13 pm
    Weekend Opinionator: A Sick Debate
    By Tobin Harshaw

    Comments:
    12. August 8, 2009 1:57 am Link
    I have lived in Europe, the USA (NYC and FLA) and currently live in Canada. I am a reasonably well-informed financial executive. I make my living as a capitalist.

    I wouldn’t know where to begin re: the health care debate but I will make a couple of observations:

    1. The USA has the finest health care in the world — bar none — provided that you have a no-limit gilt-edged money is no object health plan. Or you are rich. In my experience the 2 go hand in hand.

    Failing such insurance or such boundless wealth how any rational human being with an IQ over 75 and an income below, say, $250k (forget the social compassion argument) could defend the existing system is beyond comprehension.

    2. The outright lies — yes lies — that critics of health care reform spew is disturbing. The intentional misrepresentation of the Canadian and European models is outrageous. The Canadian model is flawed. There needs to be greater access to ‘private-delivery’ alternatives (which currently exist in some fields.) Having said that, since I returned to the province of Ontario in the late 1990’s until now the improvement in standards and care is staggering and in most cases matches anything I witnessed or experienced in NYC. Yes, health care is rationed here (hence a need for ancillary private care) but it is rationed everywhere — including the US. The exception being as per point #1 above. Per capita Ontario spends approximately 65% of what the consumers/taxpayers of the US/NY spend. However Ontario delivers 90% — or more — of the US standard. That is one very big financial/efficiency/productivity gap. That money gap goes to the US insurance companies, doctors, malpractice lawyers and lobbyists. The common canard about Canada etc is that “faceless bureaucrats make life or death decisions” (as opposed to, say, faceless HMO clerks). The truth is that in Canada the ‘gatekeepers’ who allocate critical care are the physicians themselves — the specialists.

    3. Aside from private-payment plastic surgeons it is true you will not see many doctors in Canada driving a Rolls Royce. But you will see an awful lot driving a Benz or a Jag. Doctors here work hard and are well compensated. What we lack here is the concept that a medical degree should be attributed Venture Capitalist returns.

    4. Lastly, a general observation/question (again, I really am a capitalist). Why is it that in the USA (a country I genuinely love) millions of people who barely make a living or are working class and/or just holding on to the ‘middle class’ are the most vocal — hysterical wouldn’t be an exaggeration — in defending the privileges of the rich and the corporate? Against their own self-interest I might add. Anywhere else in the western world the existing US health care tyranny would have people in the streets demanding reform — not ‘debating’ it.

    — jon c

    Billy Bob's Health Care Plan for the citizens & the economy***Total the $s spent on health care, health insurance & lawyers, then use those $s to give doctors a Cadillac, RNs a Buick, LPNS a Malibu, plus all get a reasonable income, and training with exemption from only the most aggress law suites.

    Everyone can then receive competent health care and Gen. Motors will be top dog again! The world will once again be rigted---BUT-----don't let the Dummie-crats or Rip-ya-off-publicans touch anything!!!!

    Billy Bob, Florida

    Steve G

    I too watched a similar news item here on BBC. Most of the audience at the townhall meeting looked like the kind of people who would benefit by having a universal healthcare program in place. Dare I say trailer trash. They were so anti health reform the only thing that came to mind was "Like lambs walking to their own slaughter".

    The propaganda from the anti healthcare reform lobby had become so deeply ingrained in the American psychi, over the years, that I do dispair over this issue ever getting through this mind set.

    So sad.

    Steve G,
    "We are not like the rest of the world."
    steve G

    You must be kidding...
    People were using metaphor long before "we" were us.
    Are you trying to say that we do not get sick or need medical treatment?
    The reason people do not support their own best interests is because they are susceptible to false information. These people drool just like Pavlov's dog when ever the Republicans ring their bell. It takes a Philadelphia lawyer to see through the ploys that are used against any change that affects the moneyed institutions of this country. We are inundated with propaganda that is undermining the stability of our nation.


    Tony G,

    One point I was trying to make, Tony, is that on this side of the pond that kind of historical accuracy in regards to the founding of the nation is generally unimportant in these sorts of debates.

    Americans operate on lore and even the lore can be secondary in importance. It is the morals and/or principles that the lore represents that matters most.

    You need to think of it more like a collection of cultural fables. If there is a fable where a fox encounters a crow and they strike up a conversation, it is unimportant to the meaning of the story that foxes and crows can’t really speak. The fable is used to explain and represent some basic morals or principles regarding human behavior.

    That’s how we Americans use our history; as stories that represent values or beliefs that some, most or all Americans share. Many of these stories have been passed down as an oral history. And the important thing in the stories is what they represent, not their historical accuracy.

    Americans aren’t like the people in rest of the world. Our beliefs and principles are different and our way of thinking is different.

    I saw a piece on the news last night. A woman with insurance wound up having to pay something like $10,000 out of pocket for medical treatment. In the rest of the world that woman would be all for a government run healthcare system. But she is an American and she is opposed to it. And there are millions of Americans just like her; opposed to setting up a new government run healthcare system. There are uninsured people opposed to it, privately insured people opposed to it and even people on Medicare who are opposed to a government run universal healthcare system.

    We are not like the rest of the world.

    Steve G,
    I understand that there is overlap in the right brain and the left brain hemispheres...
    However, there are some important implications that are applicable to the problem of conflict between the conservative and the liberal mind set that is dividing our nation.
    Until we can arrive at some kind of common understanding, we are going to be in a world of hurt.
    Extremism is undermining the stability of all human societies. Humans depend on their common ground to survive in a survival of the fittest world. We all require a method of exchange of ideas and resources to survive.
    Our greatest enemy is our own capacity to destroy the earth and all of humanity.
    Our present method of comprehension and action is not consistent with the priorities necessary for survival. We are creating sociopathic people who have no concern for human survival.
    We need to take a serious look at where we are going and how we are going to get there in one piece.

    In the program it mentions that the insurance companies pay out about 80% of what they take in for medical payments.

    In reality that is money simply going into the medical system.

    What percentage of that money is spent by the medical industry dealing with the insurance companies rather than on medicine?

    From the number of people behind the desks at any doctors it must be substantial.

    When the costs of the insurance companies dealing with the doctors and vice versa are accounted for, does America actually spend more on health care than most of the other developed countries?

    For those that have not seen SICO, Block Buster has it.

    SICKO is a documentary that is highly acclaimed, accurate in it statistics concerning the American healthcare system (see OCED and the World Health organization), the credibility of the examples it gives is unchallenged.

    Some may question the methods used by some of these sick and suffering Americans in his or her desperation to get "any" medical care for their medical condition.

    No one questions that these people and their medical situations are real, times millions of Americans.

    It speaks to what we have compared to what is possible.

    The end will tear your heart out.

    If you do not want others to see you cry, watch it alone.


    SICKO is not credible

    (1) There was an American woman in the movie who misrepresented herself, to receive treatment in Canada.

    (2) In order to get to Cuba, Moore had to engage in actions of questionable legality (potentially violating the embargo).

    In reply to Louis, August 8, 2009 9.31PM

    SICKO is a highly acclaimed documentary. The documentary awards it has received speaks to the integrity of its content. Referring to it as “entertainment” is sick

    In response to John | August 8, 2009 10:07 PM

    I'm very much in favor of a public option and am certainly open to the idea of a single payer system. I know a thing or two about the political process, and how it works (or doesn't). For this reason, I may have settle for a prohibition on medical underwriting and recission, and subsidies for those who can't afford insurance, although this is not my first choice.

    I like Michael Moore as entertainment, and have seen many of his movies. However, Moore plays far too fast and loose with the facts for me to regard him as anything other than an entertainer--he generally doesn't lie, but take things out of context to the point where it's difficult to take him seriously.

    In reply to Louis, August 8, 2009 9.31PM

    SICKO is a highly acclaimed documentary. The documentary awards it has received speaks to the integrity of its content. Referring to it as “entertainment” is sick.

    For those that have not seen it, Block Buster has it.

    The end will tear your heart out.

    If you do not want others to see you cry, watch it alone.

    @Betsy Whitfill

    You may be right about the funding mechanism. However, section 104 is causing trouble. It's not clear whether this is backdoor effort to eliminate insurance companies, or to simply to force people to chose one or the other. As it reads now people would have no choice, but to be under this plan. Private insurers would only be allowed for extras.

    I suggest that you rent it. Be prepared for the pain it will generate. The pain is not from one item. It is just how it all combines at the end

    If anyone should watch SICKO is you that post negative comments concerning healthcare reform in this country. I know it is biased, but it gives a good picture of what you are fighting to preserve as to what is possible.


    Posted by: John

    ==========================

    SICKO makes for good entertainment (yes I've seen it), but that's about as far as it goes. I recall I scene regarding a claim denial for a cancer patient who died. There were two possibilities here, the film didn't specify which:

    (A) The patient could have benefited from the treatment had the insurance company made good on their claim in a timely manner.

    (B) The patient had such an aggressive form that they wouldn't have survived had the claim been approved: i.e. it wouldn't have mattered.

    If it was the first instance If this was the case, it's the epitome of what's wrong with healthcare in this country. However, if it was the second scenario Moore is being disingenuous.

    A better documentary relating to healthcare was the Frontline profiling various modernized countries' systems.

    I was at Block Buster returning a few DVDs and asked the clerk behind the counter if they had SICKO the documentary. He said sure and went over to where they are and got me one. He said that I was lucky to get the last of their 6 because they are always out.

    I suggest that you rent it. Be prepared for the pain it will generate. The pain is not from one item. It is just how it all combines at the end

    If anyone should watch SICKO is you that post negative comments concerning healthcare reform in this country. I know it is biased, but it gives a good picture of what you are fighting to preserve as to what is possible.

    The end will tear your heart out.

    If you do not want others to see you cry, watch it alone.

    Steve G

    I do realise there is a difference between the Pilgrim Fathers and the Founding Fathers. It is a pity that Tom H does not.

    Clinical Diagnosis—No Time for That;‎
    Few Minutes per Visit—Mostly, That’s All You Have!‎
    Living-Off-Human-Misery with Profit Set as a Goal—‎
    Hardly Few Are Interested In Your Good Health … If At All!‎
    The Magic Word “Affordable” Added To “Care Of Health”‎
    Defines Who Might Live & Who’d Rather Die … Of Un-Wealth!‎
    Integrated-Single-Payer—ONE & the Same—Must Be For ALL;‎
    Not the Patchwork Of For Profit with the Entitlements … Paid By ALL!‎
    Electronic Medical Records—So Disliked By the “HealthCare” As Well—‎
    May Proof Faults, Abuses and “Its” Negligence … Much Too Well!‎

    Tony G,

    One problem you keep running into is the “history” thing.

    In general, we Americans don’t operate on history, we operate on lore. It doesn’t matter what the history book says happened what matters is what the popular lore says happened. The lore can be pure myth and it can still trump history in terms of importance.

    There also seems to be a Brit/Yank difference on the “founders” thing. For most Americans, when things get technical and precise, the Founding Fathers were born here. They didn’t have to escape England. Their parents or grandparents might have but they didn’t. It looks like you are using a different definition of who founded this country. But Americans can play it fast and loose with the term “founders” and it can sometimes mean the people who came here before the start of the nation. And there are other possible meanings that we Americans automatically understand by the context of the terms usage.


    Note to D.C.Eddy,

    Don’t take that left/right brain stuff too literally. For a person to approach a problem with a strictly right or left-brain viewpoint would require major brain surgery. It’s more of a dominance in the thinking process sort of thing and it gets complicated to explain it all and be accurate to the ever-changing science involved.

    Tom H

    If I may say so. Bull Crap. Get your facts right please. The founding fathers went to America to escape from Conservatives not liberals. The founding fathers were outside the government ,the monarchy and the established church. They went to America to practise their form of Christianity free of establishment interference. The founding fathers were the original liberals compared to the society they had left behind in the old world

    Oh, did you on the Right with all your rage, accusation, indignation, and fury over some meaningless couple of pages in the House Healthcare Bill just get Scammed. While your attention was focused on those pages (if they disappeared no one would notice) your Republican leaders went behind your backs and sold your dumb scammed ass down the river.

    A few weeks ago Obama stated on an AARP telecast town hall meeting in front of millions of AARP members that:

    “The American people spend 70% more for medicine than any one else in the world.”

    Every word, comment, physical nuance…etc of this man is analyzed, poked at, commented on. Anything he says that his critics can use against him is immediately jammed up his nose in every way possible.

    I waited and watched for weeks for anyone from any quarter to contest (no one did):

    “The American people spend 70% more for medicine than any one else in the world.”

    While you were distracted (a thing of beauty) your Congress added provisions to the bill to insure this continues to happen to you.

    Some enterprising American and Canadian entrepreneurs are trying to set up pharmacies in Canada to sell medicine to Americans at a 50% discount. We get a bargain and they pocket a hefty 20% profit (the Free Market and competition at work). The medicines sold in Canada are sold at a profit. This 70% is on top of that. While they have you screaming and disrupting town hall meetings your Republican leaders are crafting additions to the bill to block these business ventures (restraint of free trade?). Oh, I’ll say it again, “to insure this continues to happen to you”.

    The Democrats are in on this scam as well. The leaders however are your Republicans. They have organized, implemented, and paid for this distraction. Guess where that money came from?

    When you have a sick child you will pay whatever the medicine costs. You and your actions have helped (in a big way) to insure that medicine is 70% more than it should be for all parents with a sick child, the ill, the chronically ill, and the elderly. Oh, and I’ll say it again:

    “to insure this continues to happen to you”.

    Holy Christ, did you just get used, blued, and tattooed.

    A link to video documentary which IMV accurately describes the current (Aug. 09) healthcare situation.
    http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=4096

    If you have read the funding section of HR676, you will know that Single Payer, Medicare for all health care does mean the end of business as usual for corporate medicine and health insurance corporations in the US. Corp. interests are screaming foul, are painting dire pictures so that you will be very afraid.

    D. C. Eddy,

    “I would think it would be better to start with a clear picture of the parts before you make conclusions about the whole.”-D.C.Eddy

    That statement is kind of true and kind of false. The two ways of thinking are approaching any given problem from opposite directions.

    If you come at the healthcare problem, or any problem, from the right-brain point of view you aren’t starting with conclusions about the whole. You start with the whole, gain more and more understanding about the parts and then reach the conclusions about the whole and the parts. From the left-brain point of view you start with the parts, gain more and more understanding about the whole and then reach the conclusions about the whole and the parts.

    It isn’t that one method is better than the other, they are different and sort of opposite in direction. Some problems are easier to solve coming at them from the parts to the whole approach, and other problems are easier to solve coming at them from the whole to the parts approach.

    The healthcare problem is a problem with many things operating simultaneously but the nation keeps on trying to solve it by starting with a one piece at a time approach and that method keeps failing. So maybe it’s time to consider approaching the problem from another direction.

    We all use both hemispheres of our brains but in America we have all been trained to use a parts-to-whole approach in problem solving. That method works really well for lots of problems but some of the problems we face as a nation become difficult or impossible to solve using that approach, and the parts-to-whole approach can cause other bigger problems.

    Think of the ecosystem problem, as an example. We fill in a wetland, no big deal; it’s just one wetland. We drive one species into extinction, no big deal; it’s just one species. But over time, all of the little pieces of the ecosystem that we fiddled with were always a part of a larger whole and the one piece at a time approach didn’t take the whole into account because the focus was on the pieces as pieces and not as being parts of a larger whole.

    The healthcare system is a part of the American system as a whole. If we fiddle with one piece of the healthcare system it can have positive and/or negative effects on all sorts of other parts of the American system as a whole.

    If it is mandated that all businesses provide their employees with health insurance it could wipe out some businesses with 5 employees or less. If one businessman with five employees is driven out of business by healthcare reform that means that six people could be out of work. No big deal; it’s just six people and maybe they can all collect unemployment. No big deal; it’s just six more people on unemployment. And on it goes, rippling throughout the entire American system.

    “In grade school I was switched to Right handed from left handed …”-D.C.

    Interesting D.C., that gives you a perspective most people wouldn’t have. People weren’t just converted from being left-handed to being right-handed. People were being converted from being natural whole-to-part problem solvers to being part-to-whole problem solvers.

    We can all learn how to approach problems from the opposite direction, or learn to be more whole-minded but we don’t have the time to do that when it comes to solving the healthcare problem. We don’t have the time to undo the damage to all of the right-brainers caused by the educational system.

    Somehow we all have to manage to work together to come up with a solution to the healthcare problem. The people who founded this country were able solve big national problems and I think that we can do it too.

    Logic says we can’t do it, intuition says we can.

    Steve G,
    "I prefer the Einstein method; use the right-brain to open the door to new possibilities, and in so doing, turn on that little light-bulb so the left-brain can finally see reality."
    Steven G

    From your above conclusion; it seems you see the value of using both hemispheres of the brain as long as you start with the right brain. I would think it would be better to start with a clear picture of the parts before you make conclusions about the whole.
    I am not sure how it relates but I understand that the left brain controls the right side of the body and the right brain controls the left side of the body. In grade school I was switched to Right handed from left handed and with a little practice I can write equally well with either hand. Is it possible we can learn to use both sides of our brain equally well?

    Tom H,
    I have no problem with the conservatives who want to get the best bang for their buck...
    I do have a big problem with narrow minded conservatives who are anal retentive, sociopathic, obstructive, and decomposers. I especially have a problem with conservatives who claim to be Christians and support preemptive murder and torture. Maybe you should reexamine your title.


    D. C. Eddy,

    We right-brainers have been discriminated against and our skill-sets undervalued for a long time. Our existence was only discovered (or rediscovered) about sixty years ago. And ever since that discovery we have been branded with various left-brainer, fear and ignorance based, derogatory definitions. But the world is changing and the word on the street is that the right-brainers are the up and coming group, and our skills will be required for a bright future.

    We all use both hemispheres of the brain but each of us can be dominant in one hemisphere, and each hemisphere of the brain has its problem solving strengths. If you want to see the difference in the two approaches simply assemble a group of adults and have them all try to draw accurate self-portraits. The right-brainer pictures will look very realistic and the left-brainer pictures will look like they were drawn by a bunch of six-year olds. The right-brainers will draw realistically; the left-brainers will draw symbolically. The right-brainers will accurately perceive and draw all of the important relationships between all of the parts, just as they are. The left-brainers will not draw realistically. They will draw abstractions of reality and replace the real-life parts with the standard abstract symbol for each part, replacing reality with the little kid version of an eye or an ear.

    The first step to solving the healthcare problem is perceiving and sketching out the problem in a realistic way; realistically portraying all of the parts in their proper relationships to each other. That is not a skill that untrained left-brainers are very good at. The left-brainer sketches of the healthcare problem are high in symbolism but lacking in realism and realistic detail.

    People always make a big deal over Einstein’s definition of insanity in regards to the healthcare problem: insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If that definition is valid then it would be a good idea to turn the healthcare problem over to the right-brain problem solvers. People keep trying to solve the problem by using left-brain methods, and they keep failing. Even when right-brainers get involved they can get hung up on one thing or another because they can be hampered by the left-brain problem solving methods drilled into them by our society, and those methods work in a linear fashion and focus on one thing at a time. The healthcare problem is a problem where many things are going on simultaneously, and the simultaneous is where the problem solving strengths of the right-brain would come in handy.

    Einstein’s descriptions of how he came up with his theories shows that he solved the problems that his left-hemisphere couldn’t solve by using his right-hemisphere; eventually getting that flash of insight that so many Nobel Prize winners speak of.

    Now, we could keep on using left-brain problem solving methods on the healthcare problem, and we could keep coming up with left-brain sketches and solutions, and proudly sticking them on our refrigerators. Or we could go with the Einstein method.

    I prefer the Einstein method; use the right-brain to open the door to new possibilities, and in so doing, turn on that little light-bulb so the left-brain can finally see reality.

    Jack Martin,
    I think you may have some wires crossed in regards to my explanation of brain function. It has nothing to do with totalitarianism.
    Infact; it is the necessity to use all of the brain's power to understand all sides of an issue. This is especially true when an issue is a matter of life and death.
    Also, brain function is the expression of the soul, spirit or essence of the person.
    We are multilayered rational beings just like the physical structure of reality.
    We have to deal with the seen and the unseen.

    "Ideas are great arrows, but there has to be a bow. And politics is the bow of idealism."
    Bill Moyers

    I would like to use This Bill Moyers quote to illustrate the importance of using the full range of attributes of both the left and right hemispheres of the brain to solve problems.
    In order to construct valid ideas; it is necessary to use all of the brain power available to arrive at the right conclusions. Shooting arrows without aiming at the target, shooting arrows without feathers for stability of flight, and shooting warped arrow shafts is a waste of time and effort. The bow string must be strong and tight so that the arrow reaches its target. The politician must be straight as an arrow and aiming at the right target which should be to serve his constituents.
    People’s good health should be everyone’s concern. Bad health is contagious.

    I challenge Mr. Moyers to bring a true conservative onto his program and let the public hear both sides of each issue. Mr. Moyers does a good job presenting the liberal viewpoint but what about the other side. The "BM Journal" is no better than Rush Limbaugh's or any of the other biased talk shows. In fact it is worse. Mr. Moyers does not openly flaunt his true feelings like Rush, instead he cynically disguises them while leading his liberal lackeys through their paces each week. I say bring on the Fairness Doctrine? Or will that only apply to conservatives. Certainly, there is a good argument for limited government, at least the founding fathers thought so. They made the dangerous journey to this country to escape people who think like Mr. Moyers. Hey Bill, are you scared or just too comfortable to debate?

    I challenge Mr. Moyers to bring a true conservative onto his program and let the public hear both sides of each issue. Mr. Moyers does a good job presenting the liberal viewpoint but what about the other side. The "BM Journal" is no better than Rush Limbaugh's or any of the other biased talk shows. In fact it is worse. Mr. Moyers does not openly flaunt his true feelings like Rush, instead he cynically disguises them while leading his liberal lackeys through their paces each week. I say bring on the Fairness Doctrine? Or will that only apply to conservatives. Certainly, there is a good argument for limited government, at least the founding fathers thought so. They made the dangerous journey to this country to escape people who think like Mr. Moyers. Hey Bill, are you scared or just too comfortable to debate?

    Thank you Bill Moyer for your unbiased reporting, and Wendell Potter for your courage.
    You both have my undying loyalty and respect.

    I commend David Eddy for his attempt to explain political differences as a brain anatomy problem. I prefer to believe such choices are determined in the spiritual heart (the soul?). One of my mentors stated at the conclusion of a seminal book:
    "Perhaps there is a connection between cognitive totalism and political totalitarianism: the mind that can only tolerate one approach to understanding reality is the same kind of mind (I say soul-JM) that must impose one all-embracing structure of power if it ever gets into the position of doing so." Peter Berger

    Herbert Marcuse wrote another entire book on this dilemma: "One Dimensional Man".

    Such impaired souls are extremely insecure and anxious in this life, and that leads them to mistake what they perceive as their selfish interests as being good for all. I will go so far as to observe (along with Jeremiah Wright) that President Obama exhibits this impairment(in a sophisticated and PC way). Can you name a career politician who doesn't? (Some conservatives are as transparent in this as cannibals claiming veganism.)

    Like many others, I was moved by the Wendell Potter interview. Getting involved with OFA is good, but I suspect that what may better get big insurance's attention is a grass-movement that threaten their profits. How to do that? This may be completely futile, but some people have invested in mutual funds which in tern invest in big insurance. What about writing to the mutual funds' management asking them to withdraw their money from big insurance and reinvest the money in socially responsible alternatives? A letter from one person would promptly be thrown away, with at most a derisive comment, but what if thousands of people wrote such a letter, perhaps with a copy to the members of Congress who have been bought off by big insurance? Mr. Potter made clear that money rules at big insurance; let us consider this or better ways to affect their bottem line.

    I just watched the Bill Moyers - Wendell Potter interview. Just look at Mr. Potter’s facial expressions and you’ll see a man telling the truth, burdened with remorse yet courageous enough to come over to the moral high road. I applaud Mr. Wendell Potter. Too bad Dick Cheney, George Bush and Billy Tauzin don’t take a lesson from Mr. Potter. But then again those three must have VIP reservations for that “hottest place in hell”. Can you imagine how many names are on that waiting list?

    I’m reminded of Julia Butterfly’s great line, something to the effect, “no matter how far down the wrong road one goes, one can always turn around and go back”. Miraculously, Wendell Potter got off the wrong road. That is all that matters now. It takes great courage, especially on such a high profile level, to step away from corruption and greed, and to do it with integrity and grace while also advocating for the rest of humanity. (as opposed to advocating for one’s bank account).

    Right on Mr. Wendell Potter! Now if only those in this country who believe the “wrong” side could have a change of “heart”, turn away from the misinformation and lies of the rightwing and join with the rest of us in never giving up on a Single Payer Health Care Plan for all. I wish it had been you, Mr. Wendell Potter , instead of Billy Tauzin, who met with President Obama in the White House this week. Tauzin cleverly convinced President Obama to ensure protection to the pharmaceutical industries, those same thieves continuing to screw “we the people” over yet one more time. Oh dear. I voted for Obama on the premise of health care reform, among other promises for change. I hope I didn’t make a mistake.

    Elizabeth Tjader

    Tony G,

    That solution to make Medicaid and Medicare available to all is simple and elegant, and there is no way that it would ever be seen as a credible solution here in the United States.

    As for the private insurance companies, they might oppose such a plan, but if it were ever implemented they would quickly realize that they could dump lots of the sick people into the government run system. So if the simple plan was implemented, and nothing else in the system was changed, then insurance company profits would likely skyrocket.

    “See the thing I find hard to grasp is that whenever this debate arises in the US people there always talk about the healthcare industry. To a European those two words should never ever be used in the same sentence.”-Tony

    It’s a whole different world on this side of the pond, Tony. That’s one reason why I don’t believe that any of the healthcare systems that the rest of the world uses would work here. The American way of thinking is too different.

    You have obviously run into all sorts of the standard American arguments that are used against adopting government-run universal healthcare in the U.S. The arguments that tell you that your system doesn’t work when you know that it does. The “Oh. The Brits are standing in lines for months waiting with their healthcare rationing coupons!” and similar types of silliness that always show up in this healthcare debate. Well, the proponents to government-run universal healthcare use equally silly arguments. The American way of thinking can be extremely binary; yes or no, true or false, right or wrong, with no middle ground. And that sort of binary extremism rules the healthcare debate.

    If you can get past the silliness of the extremists and look at the sensible people you can see that both sides are using statistical arguments.

    Proponents of universal care use statistical sampling to make their case:

    Many nations have implemented universal healthcare, those systems work for those nations therefore that sort of system would work for Americans. That is a statistical method of proof and prediction, and in statistics you base everything on the assumption that the populations that you are sampling from are all of the same general makeup. Given the assumption that Americans are just like the people in the rest of the world the statistical prediction would likely hold true. But Americans are not just like people in the rest of the world. So the statistical prediction is based on a flawed assumption.

    Opponents of universal care also use statistical sampling to make their case:

    We live in a democracy, many government programs have been implemented in the United States democracy, those programs don’t work well, get bloated, bureaucratic, costly and inefficient therefore a government-run universal healthcare system cannot work well in our democracy or in any democracy. If all of the democracies in the world are of the same general makeup then the statistical prediction would likely hold true for all nations. But the United States is a Constitutional Republic, an inherently different form of democracy, with a different history. So this statistical prediction is likely true for the U.S. but turns out to be provably false for other nations.

    You need to remember that American thinking is binary; for the extremists there can only be two viewpoints. And the American way of thinking is also intuitive in nature; there is a gut instinct to it; a non-verbal feeling. The intuition drives the arguments in a binary way. The people for and against government-run universal healthcare are starting with an intuitive gut instinct. Both sides know that they are correct, they are certain of it; they can feel it. But since extremists rule, it is a binary system. It is assumed that both sides cannot be right and both sides cannot be wrong.

    What makes the healthcare problem so intractable in the U.S. is that the solution comes from a third set of possibilities where both sides of extremists are viewed as being both right and wrong simultaneously.

    The American way of thinking requires that our solution to the healthcare problem be unique. It cannot be like any of the other healthcare solutions adopted by other nations.

    Bill, is there any way PBS could air Sicko?

    You could air it in the Tuesday NOVA time slot. It is a documentary. Those of us that love Nova wouldn’t mind waiting a week for NOVA to begin again.

    Even better, two weeks in a row, at the same time each week. Announce on your Friday show that PBS will air Sicko Tuesday at 7:00pm central for two weeks. After the first airing, those that missed it could catch it the following week.

    Announcing it days before the airing would give the special interest misinformation propaganda cartel a migraine.

    It would go a long way to counter the misinformation and fear mongering directed at the healthcare systems of other developed nations.

    It would be a huge public service.

    H.R. 676. Read it, know it, live it.

    Steve G,

    "Experimentation has shown that the two different sides, or hemispheres, of the brain are responsible for different manners of thinking. The following table illustrates the differences between left-brain and right-brain thinking:
    Left Brain: logical Sequential Rational Analytical Objective Looks at Parts
    Right Brain: Random Intuitive Holistic Synthesizing Subjective Looks at Wholes"

    FUNDERSTANDING

    I would like to suggest that it would be best if everyone would use both hemispheres of their brain; it would be a whole lot easier to convince them to do what is right and good.

    Dave -

    medicare is going broke becuase it has to take care of the sickest and most expensive people in our country. perhaps we should reverse the roles and have the government take care of only the most healthy and put all of the sickest and most expensive people onto the private insurance.
    How long would the private insurers last if that were the case?

    Steve G

    I do like your medicare/medicaid idea. It would solve the universal healthcare problem at a stroke. I do wonder if the insurance companies would like it though? See the thing I find hard to grasp is that whenever this debate arrises in the US people there always talk about the healthcare industry. To a European those two words should never ever be used in the same sentence. It is as if human beings are a commodity. Cultural differences I guess do play a part after all.

    I have sent comments to both of my Senators and Congressional Representative about how to solve this problem. No replies, just phony "newsletters" expressing "caring" and "action" over the health care "issue." Sent new comments: "I don't believe you, I don't trust you. You still don't get it, you've lost the American public." Replies? None!

    The best things in life are free
    But you can keep them for the birds and bees
    Now give me money
    That's what I want
    That's what I want, yeah
    That's what I want

    You're lovin' gives me a thrill
    But you're lovin' don't pay my bills
    Now give me money
    That's what I want
    That's what I want, yeah
    That's what I want

    Money don't get everything it's true
    What it don't get, I can't use
    Now give me money
    That's what I want
    That's what I want, yeah
    That's what I want, wah

    Money don't get everything it's true
    What it don't get, I can't use
    Now give me money
    That's what I want
    That's what I want, yeah
    That's what I want

    Well now give me money
    A lot of money
    Wow, yeah, I wanna be free
    Oh I want money
    That's what I want
    That's what I want, well
    Now give me money
    A lot of money
    Wow, yeah, you need money
    Now, give me money
    That's what I want, yeah
    That's what I want

    Tony G,

    “I can see one major flaw in what you are advocating by writing premium cheques sensibly.” -Tony

    If you reread what I wrote you might notice two things. The first is that I made a mistake and used the word “pour” instead of “pore” and the second is that I never used the word “premium”.

    As for the ‘pour/pore’ thing, I am a right-brainer and work phonetically in my typing and I use right-hemisphere of the brain problem solving methods. That’s why I am always using metaphors in my explanations. You left-brainers are always so linear in your approach to this healthcare problem that it makes communication more difficult.

    In regards to the checks, people are assuming that the only checks that are written are to the insurance company. That’s the mistake that most people make. That is linear left-brain thinking at work.

    “You are insistent this is an attack on the free enterprise culture of the US and you are not looking at the wider picture.”-Tony

    I am a right-brainer and the right-hemisphere of the brain people start with the big picture and work towards the details. Your approach is linear and you look at things one thing at a time. My approach is simultaneous. I work with everything at the same time and I am looking at a far wider picture than most of you left-brainers. How many people have you seen considering the U.S. Constitution in the search for a healthcare solution? Is the Constitution a part of your wider picture? Have you considered how the real estate market was subsidizing the healthcare system? The credit card companies?

    You are contributing lots of valuable information to the debate Tony, but if you didn’t grow up in the American system there are lots of things that you could be leaving out of your wider picture.

    The American healthcare system has lots of interconnected parts and those parts are interconnected to all sorts of other parts of the American system as a whole. Fiddle with one part and it can cause any one of the other parts to vibrate, stop or spin out of control.

    Okay, you left-brainers don’t seem to be able to work with a hundred different parts of the American system in a simultaneous fashion. So let me convert to your linear, logical, left-brain approach.

    There should be no great difficulty in the government giving everybody access to government health insurance. The government simply has to eliminate the income restrictions so that everybody can qualify for Medicaid or eliminate the age limit restrictions so that everybody can qualify for Medicare.

    The government should just give all hospitals a stack of Medicaid and Medicare cards and whenever anybody comes in without insurance or there is an inability to pay for treatment then that person should be given both cards and, later, the government and the person can sort out which is the best plan for the person. If the government run systems are so wonderful then that simple solution will work. There should be no need to come up with a whole new government run health insurance system or any new rules. We just need to eliminate a few rules in the existing systems and all will be fine.

    Unless of course, there is some sort of interconnected relationship to the other parts of the American system as a whole.

    Doesn't the fact that most of the countries that have good government run health care correlate with the fact that they way smaller populations than us? We are a huge country compared to most. If our government can't handle two undeclared wars, an economy that is in the toilet, and even provide decent health care to our troops, then why would we ever trust them with our health?

    The healthcare issue is definitely something we need to focus on and figure out the best way to provide healthcare to Americans. In this blog there are a number of good ideas to consider, there is information and disinformation, but, the overall goals of everyone it to find the best solution. I do not favor the government taking over our healthcare in this country because I have seen first-hand how inefficient our government is in doing anything, and we cannot afford another bankrupt system that is run by the federal government. The government should do what it does best, and that is to provide regulation and oversight of the overall system so that we are getting the best care regardless of the insurance company writing the policy. The government can help out those that who do not have enough income to pay even for the least expensive coverage and we taxpayers would support that program, however, I believe that we would be making a big mistake to basically expand Medicare to a universal healthcare program. Medicare is going bankrupt as is Social Security and Medicaid. I am afraid to put the rest of the country at risk with another government program that is inefficient and expensive particularly since it is our health at risk. I am also worried about our senior citizens who are on Medicare and those about to go into the Medicare system. What guarantee do they have that they will get good medical care. So, let's identify the problems we all agree we have with our healthcare system, and then work out an incremental plan to fix these problems without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And, let's get the lobbyists out of the process so that we can work out a plan that is clean and not being affected by the special interest groups.

    Another myth spouted by the anti universal healthcare people--- we pay 50% tax in Europe. Taxes are not 50% of income in most countries of Europe. For the vast majority of Europeans income tax is much less. The antis always forget to mention the tax free pay allowances. The 50% tax rate only comes in after the first $300,thousand, here in the UK, earnings below that are taxed at rates comparible to US tax rates.

    In reply to Mark E - August 4, 2009

    “Where in the world at any point in history has removing competition improved the quality of a product for the public?”

    There are 36 nations out there that did just that for their national healthcare. We are 37th in the world in healthcare (yeah, 37th).

    We know it works. So now you have 36 single-payer existing national healthcare systems to study.

    Thank you for this informative interview. To finally hear someone from inside the industry speak out was a relief. My question is, why can't we just expand Medicare and open it up to anyone in need instead of creating a whole new system from scratch?

    We do need to get some sort of sanity into the cost of health care. Why should a physical which takes about 15 minutes of the doctors time and about 5 minutes of a nurses time cost more than $25 to $35? One reason is insurance that the doctors have to cary. Because, lawsuits are out of control malpractice insurance is exceedingly expensive. One thing that needs to be reigned in is law suits and then malpractice insurance. The educational costs are also over the top. This will then get rolled into the doctors bill. I have no idea how to control this cost. Does anyone out there have any ideas?

    Congess should not have the healthcare that they have. They have an exclusive plan for them only and that is supposed to be illegal. That is what I was told when we the best plan that I had was dropped. the insurance company said that they could not offer a policy that was only designed for one company. The other thing that would happen is that our government would have to deal with the issues that we do when trying to work the health care system. This does not mean that I am in favor of a government plan. I do noth think that the government would be the best way to provide coverage. Taxes would skyrocket. In Europe the taxes for a socialized system is ~ 50 %. The positive side to that is everyone has some coverage. This is not a simple problem. Unfortunately politicians from both sides of the aile pretend that it is easy and only offer old faild ideas.

    As someone who's insurance premiums just went up $800 a year (I am self-employed), I watch the progress (or lack thereof )health care reform is making.
    I've seen this cycle before. What starts out as being trumpeted as being for "the little guy" will end up being mostly for "the big guy".
    The corporate health industry will end up picking up 41 million new customers, some subsidized by federal tax dollars.
    We, in the trenches,will end up paying more, those with nothing will get a little and the heath care industry will end up rich enough and powerful enough to do whatever they damn well please.
    In other words: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, only richer.

    I do not support a public plan in the name of competition. Many states already have competing plans. Shore up Medicare first, then prove to me you can handle even offering health care to the masses.

    Steve G,
    I must have missed your post as to writing checks to the Insurance Companies.
    Most people do not write checks to the insurance companies. The money is taken out of their pay check.
    You are right about insurance companies being able to raise the price of insurance to what ever price they wish.
    Capitalism does not work if there is no competition to force prices down or a cap on profits. Without some regulation of prices; inflation will destroy the exchange of goods and services. When people can no longer survive the cost of living chaos ensues.
    That is what I would call evil.
    The American Heritage Dictionary defines EVIL as, "Something that is the cause or source of suffering, injury or destruction".
    My statement“Both too much money and not enough money are inherently evil” stands.
    -D. C. Eddy
    Money is a tool that can be used for good or evil.
    Our government is in the process of spending our money on better ways to kill people instead of improving people's lives. That is evil by anyone's definition.
    Money is our best means of the exchange of goods and sevices and must be used wisely. Economics is a people made system that is intended to serve people not enslave them.



    Sign these single payer petitions

    http://bit.ly/single_payer_ross

    http://bit.ly/HR676

    Steve G

    I can see one major flaw in what you are advocting by writing premium cheques sensibly. If everyone does that then medical insurance profits will fall. If this happens what is the next logical step by the insurance companies? Raise premiums higher and therefore exclude more people from cover because of unaffordable costs. At the moment the insurance companies are working on a 20% of premium profit margin this will go to 25%,30% etc. from a lower customer base. Do you believe the medical insurance industry will forgo the top line profit that they already make? No way. Those fortunate enough to afford this hike in premiums will inevitably get less cover for their bucks pro rata. You are insistant this is an attack on the free enterprise culture of the US and you are not looking at the wider picture. It is about affordable cover for every US citizen and who should provide it. There is the basic humanity aspect of the argument which you are willfully ignoring.

    To D. C. Eddy,

    Every year, for a number of years, a woman I know has asked for my advice about her healthcare insurance. And every year I do a little simple arithmetic and give her the same basic advice. I tell her that if she can psychologically and emotionally handle writing out the checks in the way that I suggest then she will save a minimum of about $1,000 in a bad year, and about $2,000 in a good year.

    Understand, that in no way does her healthcare change in any way; same doctors, same prescriptions, same medical treatment. Making out the checks differently is the only change. If she makes out the checks in the way that most people do then she will spend a minimum of $1,000 more than she needs to. And that $1,000 would go straight into insurer profits

    I do not pour over reams of paper written in the fine print of insurer-speak. A page or two written in simple English is sufficient, along with a few minutes of simple arithmetic. That’s it, that’s all. I have saved her $5,000 to $10,000 over the last five years simply by getting her to make out the checks differently. The difficult thing isn’t the math or the complexity of the insurance policies. The hard part is getting her over the psychological and emotional barriers to making out the checks in a different way.

    Americans are voluntarily donating billions of dollars per year to insurance company profits because Americans cannot do simple arithmetic and get past the psychological and emotional barriers involved in making out checks for healthcare in a cost effective manner. Billions of dollars are being wasted for emotional reasons.

    The private insurance abolitionists never take into account the billions of dollars per year that Americans are voluntarily choosing to donate to insurer profits because the abolitionists cannot get past their own emotions to see reality. Their total focus is on evil and stamping it out at any cost.

    “Both too much money and not enough money are inherently evil.”-D. C. Eddy

    Money is not good or evil; it is a tool. If that tool is used wisely it can benefit, if it is used unwisely it can harm.

    The private insurance abolitionists should consider the wise use of the tool and consider living up to their lofty beliefs in regards to their own money. They should cancel their cable TV and high-speed internet and all of their unnecessary money expenses. Then they should sell off their unnecessary goods. And then they should take all of that money and all of their savings and extra money and donate it to the healthcare of disadvantaged Americans.

    Most abolitionists will not do that of course because only the other guy’s pile of money is evil.

    Their own little or large pile of money is good.

    In order to have a 'public option' for healthcare we need to take out profit out of health care, which poses a threat to profit driven private corporations (big pharma and HMOs.

    Now that our centralized private financial banking systems are collapsing may be we need to put this issue under spotlight too. Do we need a nationalized debt-free sustainable currency and banking in order to have quality universal health care, education and creative-constructive jobs?

    Are we ready to diagnose the root of the problem (ignorance) inherent in our currency system instead of putting band-aid on symptoms?

    There is an argument that universal healthcare will cause federal taxes to rise. Maybe so, but consider the fact that the cost of medical insurance is a tax upon jobs and workers already. Cut out the profit made by insurance companies from the equation and I bet fed tax will rise less than insurance premiums cost now. Every employer and employee in the US will actually have more disposable income. With more than enough in the pot to bring cover to the low paid. Why do some companies pay minimum? Perhaps it's because of the cost to them made by medical insurance and minimum is all they can afford to pay their workforce.

    Sorry, but there is not enough passion on the public option or single payer side to offset these republican wingnuts.

    Get passionate or lose.

    Anthony Randazzo stated that if the public option works then everyone will want to be on it. That this will eventually overload the system and that would be a nightmare. So if the public option works well its a bad idea and we shouldn't do it. sounds like he has a bright future in government. Mr. Randazzo, there's a message here, see if you can figure it out.

    How are we working poor types supposed to pay for mandated insurance premiums when we can't even pay the rent and buy food on the same paycheck? Also why isn't anyone talking about how doctors and clinics are demanding HUGE upfront money even from insured patients when there is "dread disease" going on, because people can't afford deductibles and copays and treatment/lab stuff denied by ins. companies even when the policy indicates coverage? If individual people robbed others at literal "life point" the robbers would get sent up for a very long time. Frankly I think this needs to happen to ins. co. execs and their bureaucrat "adjusters."

    The argument I hear most in the health care debate is do you want the government between you and your doctor? How are we going to pay for this. Well if its a choice between having the government or the insurance company, the government wins hands down. How are we going to pay for it? How can we not? America is running near last place in taking care of its citizen's compared to all other countries. I am with health care reform all the way!

    History tells us that the fellow from Reason is correct.

    Where in the world at any point in history has removing competition improved the quality of a product for the public? Those in favor of government run this and that have either got to get more articulate in explaining their increasingly unpopular ideas or go read their history books and understand why so much of the public is against their proven failure of ideas.

    Steve G,
    If we were mechanical robots with no compassion or conscience; I would see your point. As it is most people depend on Health Insurance to cover very expensive medical bills.
    Without available funds to cover medical costs people will and do die. Our empathy for each other is what makes civilization possible. When this empathy for others is set aside for personal gain it is an affront to humanity.
    People who are sociopaths are a great danger to other people as are people with criminal minds.
    Your Auto Insurance parallel is bogus because Auto Insurance companies will and do drop people's insurance if they have an accident.
    It is all part of the self-centered, sociopathic and greed culture that we are generating with our advertising. There is more to life than survival of the fittest, consumerism and money.
    Both too much money and not enough money are inherently evil.
    It is necessary that people have enough money for a quality life but not so much money that they can manipulate other people's lives.
    You might want to examine your motives.

    Having studied substantitive economic institutions for many years as my primary academic interest I probably understand what insurance is and how it works. I picked up a few insights about politics along the way. The bought Republicans are using the idea of compulsory consumption along with images of bureaucratized medicine and euthanasia as scare tactics. The bought Democrats are harping on private insurance corporations but are not genuine in their criticism. They have no comprehensive health insurance plan to present so far. There is a tendency to bargain away any not for profit option, universal coverage and a consumer protective mandated plan. No one is discussing how American insurance started in a not for profit grassroots form known as a mutual company (owned and controlled by premium payers). For profit insurance, I reason, is a less fair and efficient perversion of such admirable origins. Corporate capitalism tends to accumulate corruption and parasitism like a snowball if not managed humanely and regulated.

    The fact remains that a majority of voters prefer a universal single payer plan. Distrustful anxiety over what bought politicians might come up with stands in the way. Only an idiot would fail to see that one pool without parasitic profit could produce savings all around. Infantile fixation upon a competitive market fetish ignores how successful similar not for profit plans have been in other advanced democracies. Are we a representative republic or only a market with speculative profit as our first concern?

    People remain afraid and apathetic because of the dominant media line giving cover to lies and half-truths on the part of elected officials and powerful interests. This morning NPR observed the media power of modern Duce' Silvio Berlusconi over Italy. He keeps in power through ownership and control of most of Italian TV. The Cato Institute, here in DC, is presenting a talk his week criticizing Hugo Chavez of Venezuela for many of the same reasons. Americans see almost no criticism of oligarchic control of media within our media. Discussion of universal single payer insurance plans such as John Conyers' bill HR676 is also conspicuously absent.

    As I approach people for their opinions on American medical care I find a description of an iatrogenic system (both hurts and helps, both subsidizes and bankrupts) they cannot rely upon. Taking out profit would go a long way toward greater reform while improving the fairness of provider compensation. Government oversight of such a system is a great improvement over insurance bureaucrats motivated to deny and delay using paperwork and confusion. We would still have to seek a cultural healing because capitalism is caustic to community and social solidarity. A car is a very different thing than one's body: You can eschew car ownership but to lay aside the body means death. In death one ceases to own or to profit from anything. What profit it a culture when fear is used to thwart truth and to promote private profit for a minority, the most nihilist segment of the population? I return to NC Saturday to campaign for a universal single payer system. (I will not reply to scare tactics and extreme capitalist ideology any longer, but confine my work to quiet hopeful people like myself. We are a vast majority.)

    To D. C. Eddy

    “Insurance companies have a monopoly and they are using people's health needs to amass huge fortunes with no concern for people's health needs.”-Eddy

    My car insurance company runs its business and amasses profit without concern for my car needs and care, and that’s how it should be.
    My house insurance company runs its business and amasses profit without concern for my housing needs and care, and that’s how it should be.
    My health insurance company should be running its business and amassing its profit without concern for my health needs and care.

    Health insurance companies aren’t supposed to have concern for people’s health needs. Criticizing health insurers for their lack of health concern when the insurers are not supposed to have any health concern is a part of the problem.

    If my car is squished by another car, then I go to the car repair shop, the car repair people fix it and the car insurance company pays the bill. I pay the car insurance company money so that if something happens to my car the insurer will pay money to fix my car. All types of insurance are forms of money management. That’s what insurance is and should be; insurers should only be concerned with the money part of a given problem. And the private health insurance companies should only be concerned with the money part of the healthcare problem.

    People are frustrated, angry and full of hatred towards insurers and those emotions combined with the ignorance of what insurance actually is makes it more difficult for America to solve its healthcare problem.

    The private insurance abolitionists don’t seem to know what insurance is or how it’s supposed to work. What the abolitionists know is that they hate evil and the abolitionists are on a witch-hunt to rid the world of the evil of private insurance, no matter what the consequences are. And the abolitionists are trying to pass off their witch-hunt as something based on thought and reason.

    There are thoughtful people who believe that we should move to a government only system, basing their beliefs on thought and reason. However, those people have a much more difficult time making their case to the opponents of a government run system because the private insurance abolitionists are on the same side but on a witch-hunt.

    So we have to wait for employees of the corrupt health care system to suddenly become whistle-blowers only after they have some realization that what they were doing was wrong? Bravo Democrats.

    Dr Thomas Cowan's Holistic medical practice in San Francisco has something called CSH: Community Supported Health Care Plan. Here's a quote from his site:
    "In Rudolf Steiner's perfect world, people contribute what they can and take what they need without placing monetary value on individual talent and worth. Everyone thrives and there is no lack. ... Inspired by this model, we invite you to partake in real economics!" His pay-as-you-can program follows.

    I post this just to show it exists. I know, this would never work in our hard-nosed, me-first, take care of #1 capitalist world. Maybe after the great collapse...

    Meanwhile, let's rally for HR676.

    I hope that my health holds out until my 65th birthday to avoid being one of the thousands whose life and financial security are lost to our for-profit system. Congressman John Conyer's single-payer bill, HR676, is the only valid, humane reform - medicare without age restriction.

    Other proposals under consideration in Congress and Senate would costs too much, do too little, hurt more than help by setting up new bureaucracies and mostly benefiting Wall Street while costing us four times:
    1.) Payment of our own insurance premium to buy coverage (to be mandated).
    2.) Tax burden to subsidize various degrees of income earners eligible for taxpayer help to buy insurance from the profiteers in our medical/insurance industrial complex.
    3.) Supporting employee health insurance in tax-funded entities such as federal, state and local governments for fire, police, schools and entitlements for the needy.
    4.) Cost of products and services from organizations passing employee insurance overhead on to customers.

    Several plans also depend heavily on Medicaid by expanding the net for qualifying incomes - since many large states, like CA are already reducing Medicaid services to handicapped, nursing home residents and other needy people we'll soon be guaranteed to be told it's not sustainable! Florida already has a heavy nursing home Medicaid burden and I can't understand how increasing it would be beneficial to anyone since many states are required to balance their budgets.

    No wonder the health insurance companies and their executives are so rich and our prosperity keeps eroding! Florida's entertainment and tourism industry will keep slipping away because people only have enough to sustain their insurance, food, mortgage and tax burdens.

    What a mess - it looks like many proposals for making the American health care patchwork more dysfunctional than ever! Are you as astounded as I am at the amount of bureaucratic oversight it would require to police all the aspects of many of these other proposals such as:
    * Are individuals meeting their coverage mandate or needing to pay the penalty/fine?
    * Are businesses meeting their coverage mandate or needing to pay the penalty/fine?
    * When income changes (hours are reduced or job changes or promotions occur) do people keep having to fill out forms to change how they do or do not qualify for subsidies and pay for coverage?
    * If payment for a policy premium is late, lost or neglected and a medical need arises are hospitals going to turn people away?
    * Will Big PhARMA keep it's promise to voluntarily reduce medication prices?
    This link has many details and If you go all the way down to the bottom of the page you'll see the various proposals for funding each of these and why HR 676 is the best. http://www.kff.org/healthreform/sidebyside.cfm

    Thanks for your excellent reporting on this very complex topic.

    The reality is that a publicly regulated industry that flat out refuses to provide service to its users at any price can not be tolerated. Anyone over 50 who tries to get private health insurance understands the issue--and there will be a lot more of us in that situation soon.

    While I appreciate the simplicity and potential efficiency of a single-payer system, the costs of transition to such a system are unimaginable. The "government plan" option represents an intelligent step that can provide many of the benefits, particularly if the government shares its claims processing technology with private insurance plans.

    You and your guest provided a great public service.

    THANK YOU Mr. Moyers from this average working American! THANK YOU Mr. Potter for changing paths at the end of a long career - must be pretty scary to have to start over. What no one seems to have addressed though is this "requirement" by proposed law (proposed by Congress, mentioned by Obama) that all Americans will be "required" to buy insurance. The cheapest insurance I can find NOW is more than my take-home pay. Are we to become homeless and starve so as to stay out of jail for breaking the MUST BUY INSURANCE law? Is this to become the 21st century version of stealing bread to survive and then going to prison for doing so?

    How the UK's mandatory system works is those that are employed pay into the National Insurance scheme. Those unable to work and earn money for whatever reason are able to access the same benefits as contributors. No one is excluded. Of course you will get people who abuse the benefits by taking and not contributing. No matter what is said by the right wing press here in the UK these kind of people are miniscule in number. However, as a caring society it has been decided we can accomodate such abuse. Not everyone in the UK likes this. However, as most of these people are social inadequates, people with mental problems or from dysfunctional families we don't exclude anyone. After all we don't want to see anyone dying on our streets through lack of social care. We may not be rich in global monetary terms but we are rich in other ways.

    Great program w/Wendell Potter, though I wish it hadn't taken 15 years for him to see the light. Or was it that he felt the heat? Nevertheless, in an industry of tight lips and stealth PR tactics, it's good to have at least one insider willing to jump ship and spill the beans.

    There was a critical omission, however, one key factor on which Mr. Potter needs to shed light. If the American public is going to know the whole story of the insurance industry's strangle-hold of American health care, lobbying efforts notwithstanding, this factor has to be exposed and addressed.

    It concerns the insurance industry’s control of nation’s private medical delivery system via their managed care agreements with doctors and hospitals. These lengthy, complicated, and often adversarial contracts signed by medical providers to become part of a PPO or HMO network are heavily slanted toward the financial interests of the insurance companies. The denials of coverage and over-turned medical decisions that outrage patients, consumer-advocates, and members of Congress are actually stipulated by contractual clauses in the provider agreements. Or, they’re permitted by contractual reference to vague utilization review protocols and case management programs that the insurance companies also control.

    Mr. Potter talked about insurance company bureaucrats standing between the doctor and patient. But, he needs to also acknowledge that Cigna’s agreements with its network providers completely allow it. Managed care companies leverage huge membership numbers to get exactly what they want in their contracts from providers. Whether it’s lower reimbursements or more control, insurance companies hold hospitals and physician groups hostage by the threat of losing patient revenue if they don’t agree to contractual terms. Even in the face of insufficient reimbursement levels or other unreasonable contractual stipulations, providers invariably sign these agreements because they have no other choice.

    If Mr. Potter wants to expose some real dirt, let him find and release a copy of an actual provider agreement Cigna has with a network doctor or hospital. I doubt he’ll be able to do it. Such agreements are “proprietary,” you know. But, if he can, everyone will see just how lopsided those agreements really are in favor of the insurance companies. And, how they’ve completely codified a medical delivery system in which insurance company bureaucrats really can legally call all the shots.

    There is an elephant in the room. It's been around for some time, now. It is the egregious effect of undue influence exerted via contibutions funneled into campaign coffers.
    How can we trust our legislators on ANY issue, when their own personal welfare and interests so heavily depend on this money? Can we not see the forest for the trees?

    Our healthcare problem is a big one. But it's only one 'tree' in a large 'forest'. Insanity is repeating the same mistake again and again, and expecting a different outcome. Congress does and has had a monkey on its back that has robbed it of the ability to make good policy based on conscience, honesty, and integrity. It will remain so, issue after issue, crisis after crisis, until we do one thing: get the MONEY out!

    Steve G,
    Speak for yourself.
    Personally, I understand that social systems are an essential element of civilized behavior.
    Insurance companies have a monopoly and they are using people's health needs to amass huge fortunes with no concern for people's health needs.
    The word "liberty" is not the freedom to do what ever you want to do; it is also necessary to do those things which are consistent with social responsibility.
    The responsibility of the noble (noblesse oblege) has gone away and it is now sociopathic greed.
    There are alway things in the society that must be dealt with realistically. It is not a matter of abolishion; it is a matter of the best solution for the problem. It must be a solution that is consistent with providing people a quality life. It is about doing what is right not "profit at any price".

    Mr. Potter, now that you are attempting to change things, how long have you been a part of the problem? Given your area of expertise and your position you sold the message that the hospitals and caregivers were giving the best medical care possible to Americans. Sometimes this was accurate, other times less so. I speak from experience having worked in the operating rooms of a major medical center.

    Mr. Moyers, thank you for the program. Now can you bring into public view those actually being paid in the medical field, top level? Then discuss the proposal in front of the Senate, explain the vote allignment and suggest some possibilities to have a passage of the proposal? Thank you.

    There is an inherent conflict of interest between powerful for-profit insurance corporations who claim to be serving the consumers of health care services and the insured who depend on appropriate, affordable health care when they need it. Having a public option will ensure that health care is accessible to those who would otherwise not get the services they need, although it will probably lead to there being two distinct pools being insured: the chronically ill and poor being insured through the public option, and the young and healthy being insured through the private sector. Even if this occurs, it will be vastly better than the current system. Kudos to Mr. Moyers for another excellent broadcast and to Mr. Potter for having the courage to take the high road.

    "Watch this video or read the transcript" send it on. --Mr. Moyers JOURNAL is a beacon of truth that should be seen weekly and forwarded to everyone in your address book.

    Evidently we are pawns in this battle for uniform, fair, 21st Century health care. As in the banking fiasco and Congress' habitual legislation that benefits those special interest groups with the biggest bucks, the rest of us Americans are at the mercy of, relatively, a few. We must make sure "truthiness" comes out. We need to expect more of ourselves and start taking responsibility for our sources of information. Fear is not to be peddled to those who demand clear, concise and objective information. The underlying message is that when we see to our health, Americans can better function as a society. Our society is ill and becoming more so--this matter IS urgent. It's understandable why President Obama wants a quick solution to a fundamental problem--which has been drug out for years and years. But with the additional time we have before a solution can be passed, we are responsible for getting the truth out there and disclosing the insurance and drug industries' lies and the unbelievable sums they are spending on lobbying scare tactics. (Drug companies--couldn't that money be used for research and improving your products?) Thank you tony and Turquoise for your info on UK's health care system.

    “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly -- it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over." Does this remind anyone of the congressional and presidential "discussions" of the future of health care in the U.S.?

    I'm hardly a fan of Goebbels, whose quote this is, but he had a keen understanding of how the human mind works. And as Ovid tells us: "We can learn even from our enemies."

    Are we citizens thinking truly critically about the changes WE'd like to see in the US health care system? Or are we going to swallow what the congress sends to President Obama for his signature without having made our opinions known?

    Tony G,

    What I am trying to do Tony is give you a way to understand the American mind and how we Americans think and the nutty way we Americans try to solve problems. I’m not trying to convert you or trying to say that the British way of doing things is wrong for you Brits; it’s just not the American way.

    I think one of the reasons your healthcare system works for you is that your healthcare system is British in its nature; it fits in, in fundamental ways, with the British way of thinking. And it seems likely that the reason all of the other nations with a nationalized healthcare system have developed systems that work for them is that each healthcare system is a good enough fit to each nation’s unique way of thinking. And the way that a nation thinks is tied to its history.

    “No taxation without representation” and “Liberty or death” are both parts of the American way of thinking. When I drive around I often see car license plates from New Hampshire with the slogan “Live Free or Die” stamped into them by the government of that state. “Liberty or death” might have started as a piece of tacked on propaganda but it became an important part of the American mindset and it still exists.

    The American way of thinking makes it very difficult for Americans to adopt a nationalized healthcare system that is just like the systems of other nations. And if somehow that unlikely thing did occur, and we adopted that type of system it would be an absolute disaster; there is no way to make one of those systems work for all here in America. We are forced to find our own uniquely American way of solving the healthcare problem.

    Here’s a few more short bits of U.S. history.

    In the 1770’s we engaged in the Patriots versus the Redcoats civil war.
    In the 1860’s we engaged in the Blue versus the Gray civil war.
    For the last four decades or so we have been engaged in the Red versus the Blue civil war.

    In our modern civil war we have managed to avoid the usual civil war gunfire and casualties but we have kept the civil war mentality of us versus them. No getting along with or compromising with the enemy. President Obama often mentioned our modern Red/Blue version of civil war in his campaign for the Presidency.

    Next bit of history: One historical sequence of national issues to fight about is: abolition of governmental tyranny, abolition of slavery, abolition of alcohol, abolition of abortion, abolition of private health insurance.

    The first abolitionist movement, the American Revolution, wasn’t really an abolitionist movement but all of the abolitionist movements that have followed it perceive the founding of America as if it were abolitionist.

    If you want to be able to understand what you are watching as you view Americans battle over this healthcare thing then you need to understand the nature of American abolitionists when they are operating in civil war mode. The private health insurance abolitionists are not trying to fix the healthcare system. They are trying to abolish perceived evil at any and all costs. And it can be difficult to get abolitionists to see reason and reality.

    The majority of Americans are privately insured and the majority of those people prefer to keep their private insurance. The majority of the privately insured want the government to get rid of insurance company abuses, reduce cost, fix the problems in the system and make the system fair but they don’t want the government to abolish private health insurance.

    American abolitionists just don’t mix with reason and reality.

    THANK YOU so much for repeating the episode showing your interview with Wendell Potter. What a hero he is for speaking out. I have been sending the link to your Bill Moyers Journal website to many friends and relatives suggesting that they watch the video if they missed the original program. I had seen SICKO when it came out in theaters and was dismayed that it didn't get more publicity. Now, I am loaning out my personal copy of the SICKO DVD so others can see how nationalized health care really works! ...and now I am going to make a donation to PBS for this wonderful program.

    I greatly appreciated the program on health care and would like to make four points.

    1) Not all insurers are stock companies. Some of us have our health insurance through mutual insurance companies, which, as you know, means that WE are the owners of the companies. No one condemning the insurers has pointed out that difference or convinced me that mutual insurance companies are as rapacious as stock companies. Nor have those condemning stock companies, to the best of my knowledge, provided convincing evidence of that rapacity. While I know there are lies, damned lies and statistics, I think most of us are capable of making reasonably sound judgments ourselves. Without that evidence -- if anyone testifying or writing about our health care "mess" has offered it, I haven't seen it -- and without a detailed and consistent breakdown of who constitutes those lacking health care insurance -- I cannot get out of my head Goebbels' remark: "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

    2) True "objectivity" does not exist. Everyone brings baggage to her/his viewpoint. Even though from the outset I realized that Michael Moore had a point to make in each of his films, I used to cut him more slack than I do after having seen the CBC's documentary on his work. I trust him no more than I did Soviet propaganda and take his films not with a grain of salt, but with a number of licks from a salt block.

    3) I haven't done enough research to have the sort of informed opinion I like to have. Still, I tend to favor a single-payer system. But I also favor no longer being a second-class citizen. Members of congress and all federal employees should have the same health care system as all the rest of us. As it is we live in an Orwellian country, where all people are equal, but some people are more equal than others.

    4) As I understand the bills that have passed the House, there is nothing explicit about the way health care is to be provided to illegial aliens. This is not an issue to be swept under the carpet. Do we have any way credible estimates of what such health care costs those who provide that care? Shouldn't congress have an idea of those costs before blithely passing legislation that will affect everyone who pays federal taxes?

    Has anyone thought about from where the $1.4 million PER DAY the health insurance industry is spending on lobbying is coming? From us! Our premium increases, co-pay increases and coverage denials are being used against us. I stronly feel that each member of Congress should be stripped of his/her coverage until we all have the same thing. I would also like to see a list published of each politician's financial "ties" to the health insurance industry.
    I am one of the lucky ones - with good coverage so far. It won't last.
    Health care is a HUMMAN RIGHT.

    The problem with the healthcare industry isn't profits so much as misdirected incentives. As long as we reward providers by number of procedures rather than outcomes, there will be overtreatment--even in non-profit hospitals staffed by doctors on salary. Of course sometimes, as at the Mayo Clinic, good leadership and professional ethics can outweigh bad incentives, but we shouldn't count on it. Single payer won't solve this problem, though it would make it easier to develop uniform standards for outcomes.

    There is no question in my mind but that we need to do something drastically different to provide good, affordable healthcare to all Americans.

    Here's my question... One of the justifications to privatizing parts of the military was the INEFFICIENCY of the government (cf: $1000 screwdrivers, etc.). Now, the health insurance industry doesn't want to allow a public option because the government would be TOO EFFICIENT! So, which is it?

    Something that has been concerning me about the notion of mandatory coverage is, what are you to do if you simply cannot afford any coverage? I'm a college student barely making enough to survive. If such a mandate becomes federal law, what additional penalties should I expect aside from my currently massive ER bills? Are the uninsured, in violation of a federal law, going to have to worry about fines or jail time if they are unable to comply? Really, how will the government force a private insurance plan upon those who simply don't have enough money?

    Ken Russell,
    Maybe you should be the first person to volunteer to die so that the insurance CEO's can improve their luxurious life styles.
    You could even throw in your body parts that they might need some day.
    I think you have been deceived by the attempt by people with vested interests to corrupt the meaning of words. Society is intended to serve all of its people not just the filthy rich who produce nothing and get everything.

    "The leader's unending responsibility must be to remove every detour, every barrier to ensure that vision is first clear, then real."
    Jack Welch

    Let me clarify somethings about how the UK system works. True it is not free per se. All wage earners are compelled to pay into a national insurance scheme. Approximately 8% of earnings. There is a cut off of contributions on earnings over $50,000, so anyone earning over that pays no extra national insurance. The National Insurance contibution deductions are not solely for medical. These deductions are also for sickness pay, unemployment pay, old age pensions and social security. All these elements are covered by our national insurance contributions. The free medical part comes at the point of delivery. All hospital treatment is free. We do have co pays. Each precription item costs $12 no matter what the actual cost of the drugs are. For those on multiple presciptions they are able to buy a season ticket which costs $120 per year. That covers all medication irrespective of what is prescibed. NHS Dental costs are also paid for to a maximum of $250 for all treatments so if you are having a full rebuild that is the maximum you will pay. A similar system is in place for eyeglasses. Some people are exempt from precription charges charges, Over 60's, under 18's, people on some social security benefits, and cancer patients. The UK goverment is looking to see if it is possible to add other long term chronic conditions to the list of exemptions. We also have the option of joining private medical schemes. However being in any private scheme does not exempt anyone from paying the basic national insurance.

    Great show, Bill, with Mr. Potter regarding Socialized Health Care in America.

    Government involvement into the medical field is a mistake. Consider how members of the military are treated as an example how you would be treated. I was in the Navy, during Clinton's reign, and you can expect many government interventions. You will be held financially responsible until the government's insurance plan (Champus) decides to pay for specialist civilian doctors. You will be held responsible for damaging yourself (like a sun burn). Dangerous extracurricular activities are prohibited (like scuba or sky diving). You will be sent to a fat farm if you are over weight. You will see a corpsman (after a 6 hour wait) instead of a doctor. You will be given many giant Ibuprofen caffeine pills for everything from a sore back or throat to a broken finger. You will be required to take a motorcycle driving course, wear a helmet, reflector vest, gloves, and steel-toed shoes to drive a motorcycle. You can not refuse medical care and you can't hold the government responsible for mis-diagnosis or medical malpractice.

    If you let the government have this responsibility, they will eventually mandate healthy behaviors, dictate your alcoholic consumption, your fat intake, exercise schedule, junk and fast food intake, and when you are no longer a useful component of society and the need for euthanization.

    I notice you cited Medicare as a government program that works. If you haven't noticed, it is going broke. As a country, we can't afford to make free medical coverage a right.

    George Soros and the progressive democrats, whose messenger will not oblige to his constitutional obligation to prove that he is an American citizen and will say anything the teleprompter tells him to say, has created legislations such as the Stimulus Bill, the Equal Pay Bill, the Global Poverty Bill, the Tobacco Bill, the Climate Change Bill, the upcoming Health Reform Bill and the UN sponsored Bill that will force Americans to pay a global tax, will bring America to a $2 trillion dollars deficit and cause this country to self distrust.

    In response to Richard:
    Go to: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07312009/watch2.html


    At the end of last night's show with Mr. Potter, Mr. Moyer commented on the concessions that PHarma and insurance have already acquired in the forthcoming Healthcare Legislation. However, I don't see the comment in the transcript on this site.
    It was extremely important information that the public should be aware of. Would you please post it.

    Posted by: Richard | August 1, 2009 9:23 AM

    I thought Mr. Potter was brilliant. Thank God someone in the upper eschelons listened to his conscience and quit a job that he realized was killing people. His explanation of the Republican effort to kill the healthcare reform bill was enlightening. I learned quite a bit from your program, and I am telling everyone about it. If we could get over hearing the same ten second talking points and actually understand what is going on, we would be in much better shape.

    Thank you for repeating the interview with Wendell Potter. I watched it both times, and also listened when Mr. Potter appeared on "Democracy Now" with Amy Goodman. Immediately following your program, Mr. Potter's point was illustrated perfectly for me.

    After your broadcast, I switched channels to ABC to watch the local evening news, and caught the last of 20/20, in which John Stossel was rolling his eyes about the terrible healthcare they get in other countries and cautioning us that this is the type of healthcare we would get if Obama succeeds in granting us even a shred of healthcare reform. Stossel interviewed some guy in a hospital bed in Canada who had allegedly had to wait months for some procedure, and then switched to Britain, where people are allegedly having to pull their own teeth. Included were glimpses of British newspaper advertisements for tooth pliers and an article about a man who had been forced to Superglue his teeth back in. The newspaper glimpses were very brief, but they looked to me like the same British tabloids that publish stories like the one about the hapless mother who accidentally ate her son after the aliens turned him into a fish finger! In other words, Stossel seemed to be quoting the British version of the National Enquirer to support his argument!

    I lived in the UK for 5 years and experienced NHS healthcare. While I had some complaints (mostly to do with cultural differences, rather than problems with care), on the whole, it was wonderful to be able to make a prompt appointment with a doctor WHENEVER I FELT I NEEDED TO, and at no cost!

    While in Britain, I heard some horror stories about the NHS, but I heard virtually identical stories about American healthcare when I returned to the United States. The scaremongers will tell you that people in the UK have to wait months for treatment. I did not experience that in Britain; however, shortly after I returned to the U.S., I developed severe intestinal problems (including bleeding), and had to wait almost 5 months (during which I lost 15 pounds) for a colonoscopy. On top of that, even though I had good insurance, I had to pay several hundred dollars for that procedure. My illness turned out to be a very bad case of food poisoning, but if it had been cancer, I probably would not be writing this comment today.

    Based on my experience, our present system already gives us all the disadvantages they claim we will have with nationalized healthcare (such as not having a full choice of doctors, long waits for treatment, and a bureaucrat standing between you and your doctor), and none of the considerable advantages (such as not going broke over medical bills).

    I feel that our only hope is a single-payer system, which would eliminate the insurance companies completely!

    Mr. Potter relates his trip on a corporate jet, when his meal was served on a gold-edged plate.

    Right at that moment, he should have wondered whether that plate was paid for by 1) policy-holders or 2) shareholders.

    THAT is the real question to be posed to the health care insurers....

    "Democracy is the triumph of money over all other values." Oswald Spengler, The Decline of The West, 1926.

    The only factor that provides citizens a voice in their government is money - tax money. Why isn't the government responsive to the will of the people?

    BECAUSE THEY ALREADY HAVE YOUR MONEY. It's taken from your paycheck; every penny you "earn" is kept track of and taxed; every thing you by or service you pay for is TAXED. So what are you going to do about it? NOTHING. YOU CAN'T.

    What a fantastic show this week! And look at all the comments of support.
    I totally agree with Potter's views. While not limited to only the health insurance industry, the pursuit of profits has imposed much damage upon both the American citizens and our nation.
    I completely and strongly support a public option; even a single-payer. Wolfe may be correct that a move toward a public option through stages might compromise the initial effectiveness, somewhat. However, that is the manner it which Canada finally transitioned to a very successful and public supported single-payer system.
    And as for Randazzo's concerns, it may be true that some individual states could experience the problem described, but our federal government can certainly be as successful as any of the other successful nations who have great public health-care like France, Holland, England, Canada, and Scandanavia. Our federal government just needs to get with what the public in America supports rather than to continue to support the profit excesses that private corporations want to keep.

    I watched this Bill Moyer program and believe that it was a political piece designed to promote the Obama political agenda. There was never a real question asked of the guest. there was never an opportunity for any balancing information. Only soft questions for a proponent of a democratic proposal. I must, after viewing this particular program, withhold all future support for PBS!

    Posted by: Lynn | August 2, 2009 12:48 PM
    -------------------------
    It seems to me that you don't want to believe your lying eyes. Have you held all of the news media that you watch to the same standard? If so you would not watch any news at all. Your bias against Pres. Obama is evident. We as Americans have had enough of this political dishonesty. We now need to look for whAt is in the best interest of the citizens and not the parties or politicians. You can believe this story or not, but I challenge you to find one more truthful.

    Sir , you are the most honest and breavest news man that I had seen during my past 22 years watching tv news in Canada.I will write more about wrong doing which the brodcusting outlets are doing.I have watched health care episode on your show and I had almost in my mind what the gust was telling.One tips I will leave todat.:"Jim's evening news show is all about missinforming the population and it is not good since we all have a trust with pbs." It is very unfortunate.
    Thanks you very much for kepping informd the good news.I had prodicted that Iranian Mullas will become democrate and peoples power will be prevailled.And it will be with in 6 months.
    alamin
    514 791 3689
    Quebec,Canada

    The present private, for-profit system is failing miserably. Most people who have private insurance have to suffer with bureaucratic red-tape for approvals with their carriers. Doctors have to practice within the confines of the carrier's decision of what is covered verses what is not covered. There IS someone that makes the decision of what care I receive from my doctor and it is NOT my doctor, nor me! We have the technology and the brain-trust to be able to look at ALL the other Universal Health Care Systems throughout the world and take what works, change what does not work and have our OWN Model of Public Health Care. The only problem is that in our PRESENT system, there is TOO MUCH MONEY TO BE MADE FROM HEALTH CARE INSURANCE COMPANIES!

    Wouldn't it be nice if we knew these congressmen actually got the majority of our votes. Then we would know they could be voted out. Try it, bet you we can't do it.

    Maybe Michael Morre's movie, "Sicko" wasn't so far off the mark after all!
    I was skeptical, when in that movie, they showed country after country actually taking care of the sick and elderly by not allowing them to go bankrupt because they became ill and needed healthcare..unlike the U.S where we throw people to the wolves and don't even blink an eye!
    My skepticism was put to rest when I witnessed first hand that universal health care can work.
    A family member of mine who lives in Canada lost her mother in law to cancer after many months of treatment and hospitalizations. After her death, her husband wasn't strapped with medical bills, he didn't have to file bankrupcy, or lose his home to pay the pile of bills that had accrued because of a catastrophic illness!
    He didn't pay anything for all the care his wife received. Just imagine how that took the stress off of him by not having the worry of paying off all those bills. He is now able to concentrate on his own health and move on with his life.
    Our country needs to wake up!!!!

    I have to agree with the Right-Wing on this one, what's the hurry ? We've been living with this system for over 60 years so what's another six months or a year to get it right.

    Various members of the main stream media have been touring the various corporate media shows and publishing pieces that try to blame the Conservatives for a program of disinformation concerning proposed rationing of healthcare. One example is Associated Press Writer Charles Babington who has an article on Yahoo this morning titled "Distortions rife in health care debate". He was also on PBS Washington Week last Friday espousing essentially the same theme. Regardless of the validity of his charges, what is the main stream media doing carrying water for any administration after years of refusing to address subjects that were in opposition to the government’s position.

    Considering the fact that none of this proposed legislation has become law in this country, we can only have a public debate over what is currently being proposed by the two houses of Congress. Despite what some Washington pundits say, the American people do have the right to voice there concerns over certain elements proposed by members of the Obama Cabinet. Ezekiel Emanuel and Peter Orzag have made their opinions known, in past articles for various medical and academic journals, and they leave no doubt that they prefer a policy of rationing carried out through Euthanasia. For example, Ezekiel Emanuel called for a reinterpretation of the physician's Hippocratic Oath to take account of "costs" and "effect on others", in an article in JAMA of June 18, 2008. The brother of Obama's chief of staff, Ezekiel Emanuel is a top designer of Obama's healthcare reform, as health-care advisor to Peter Orszag's OMB and a member of the Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness research. We just can’t ignore these facts and pass this legislation !

    I have to agree with the Right-Wing on this one, what's the hurry ? We've been living with this system for over 60 years so what's another six months or a year to get it right.

    Various members of the main stream media have been touring the various corporate media shows and publishing pieces that try to blame the Conservatives for a program of disinformation concerning proposed rationing of healthcare. One example is Associated Press Writer Charles Babington who has an article on Yahoo this morning titled "Distortions rife in health care debate". He was also on PBS Washington Week last Friday espousing essentially the same theme. Regardless of the validity of his charges, what is the main stream media doing carrying water for any administration after years of refusing to address subjects that were in opposition to the government’s position.

    Considering the fact that none of this proposed legislation has become law in this country, we can only have a public debate over what is currently being proposed by the two houses of Congress. Despite what some Washington pundits say, the American people do have the right to voice there concerns over certain elements proposed by members of the Obama Cabinet. Ezekiel Emanuel and Peter Orzag have made their opinions known, in past articles for various medical and academic journals, and they leave no doubt that they prefer a policy of rationing carried out through Euthanasia. For example, Ezekiel Emanuel called for a reinterpretation of the physician's Hippocratic Oath to take account of "costs" and "effect on others", in an article in JAMA of June 18, 2008. The brother of Obama's chief of staff, Ezekiel Emanuel is a top designer of Obama's healthcare reform, as health-care advisor to Peter Orszag's OMB and a member of the Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness research. We just can’t ignore these facts and pass this legislation !

    As a person who has been trying to get my husband insurance for over four months, I have come to be disillusioned by the health insurance companies. First, they are denying my husband coverage due to old information that they are getting from who knows where. They say that my husband has a history of diabetes. Yes, he has a history, but he does not have diabetes any more. But the insurance companies say once you have diabetes, you always have it. Even though we have the blood work to show he doesn't. They also deny him because he has had gastric by-pass surgery. Which has cured his diabetes and high blood pressure. He is the healthiest he has been in over 20 years. As for the gastric by-pass surgery, I believe they are looking at statistics or some formula about the complications on the surgery. I think they should look at each person on a case by case situation. Another reason they have denied him is because of arthritis. He has arthritis in his low back. Who is approaching middle age does not have some kind of arthritis? I have also been disillusioned by the health care provided to the non-insured. My husband was in the hospital recently and you would not believe the costs we have en cured. To date, the total cost is close to $30,000 for a three day stay. The hospital charged us almost $27,000, the doctors make up the rest. I believe that the hospital charge the non-insured the highest prices to make up for the loses they en cure from low payments from the insurance companies. I have one example, they charge my husband $562 for one acetaminophen. Also, there is a charge for all most $2000 which is a lump sum for supplies, which is not itemized on the statement I received. My husband is so upset over this, that he stated that it would have been better to let him die. I do not care if it takes the rest of our lives to pay this off, my husband is alive. Also, because we have savings (which we are living off of because my husband is also unemployed), we do not qualify for any assistance. They do not look at your your total outgoing payments for bills and living expenses, except for your mortgage payment. I feel they should be looking at those also, not just the assets you have. I am disabled and receive SSDI payments (which is meager) and they also look at that as income. What can be done about this? Nothing, you are at the mercy of the people who are charging these ridiculous prices.

    I'm going to predict my disabled child will not be able to switch from Medicaid (where I have been unable to find a doctor to see him due to the medicaid factor) to public option.

    If I could switch him to a public option would I then switch myself to public option as well if possible? Yes. Why? Because any payments that I might have to make would be going to the same destination. Anything else is silly and illogical

    Re:"Members of Congress who are going to vote against the Health Care Bill should be required to drop their present public supported healthcare plan and pay for their own private health insurance plan.

    Posted by: Jim Devaney | August 1, 2009 12:19 AM
    "

    Rep. Courtney of CT has done just that.

    I watched this Bill Moyer program and believe that it was a political piece designed to promote the Obama political agenda. There was never a real question asked of the guest. there was never an opportunity for any balancing information. Only soft questions for a proponent of a democratic proposal. I must, after viewing this particular program, withhold all future support for PBS!

    Kudos to Bill Moyers and Wendell Potter for one of the most powerful and moving communications I have seen to date - Bringing clarity and light to the health care crisis in America.

    There is more to the health care crisis than just lack of quality health care. The problem is in employment. To skirt around health care benefits many companies manipulate employee status to show them as part-time or more especially as "contract" temporary employees. Contract temps typically get no benefits whatsoever, and the fear that they could lose their job.
    Temp jobs are extremely fragile situations. Take one day off and you may find yourself replaced. This is todays workplace in America.
    I agree totally that there is "rationed" care in the workplace... Rationed by the CEO's - denying benefits without care or concern with the life or death of their customers.
    The "right to work act" is used with extreme predjudice when someone is found out while working as a temp to have any heath care or worker's comp type issues. As we are now well aware "right to work" laws are all about the "right to fire" for no reason whatsoever.
    Putting peoples lives in a temp holding pattern, while disallowing their ability to gain seniority and health care benefits will never be diminished until we get meaningful health care legislation enacted.

    Michael Labeit a few points on your trust with the market will make everything right. I can't help but think of the disasters and huge amount of money wasted in Iraq by the private companies how did not compete but were chosen by a White House who will no doubt go down in history as one of the most corrupt.

    The worse case is the story about the bad electrical wiring that has been electrocuting solders in Iraq. This was installed by an American firm to cut costs and make a profit the cut every corner. The wiring was so bad that the government inspector commented that this the worse case he had ever seen in all his years.

    How do account for this?
    Also with health insurance companies it's all about profits, not our health.
    I think they could make enough money and not deny care or services.
    They could make enough money without taking thousands off of Americans every year without paying back a sent when claims are made.

    You see here is root of the problem with your argument, while competition does guarantee some price control it does not guarantee quality or good service. Anyway there is not much in the way of competition within this industry or many others come to think of it. So your argument is made moot by this fact.

    Case in point, where I live there is only one cable company, so they can charge whatever they want. The on;y competition is the satellite dish providers.

    With the consolidation of most of our corporate enterprises from banks insurance companies it seems to me that the only thing they are competing for is more profits and larger salaries for the CEO's and returns for stock holders.

    John Hamilton a few things you should understand. In Britain, Canada and other countries that have good health care systems that it's not free. People pay taxes and the taxes are used to pay for the health care. Do you understand this idea? Or are you one of those Americans who don't want to pay taxes.

    You are correct on one count, nothing is free.

    Two interesting things about Mr. Potter's interview: First, I'm sure he must feel very guilty about his 15 years of service in the insurance industry where he ripped off consumers by the minute. Oh Yeah, has he volunteered to return or donate all the blood money he made over those 15 years back to free or community health centers where it can be used for the good of the poor people he stole from???
    Secondly, the clip from "Sicko" showed all those nice Canadians and British folks getting all that Free Medical Care. If it is free, why don't they just give it to everybody in the world, including we Americans??? Oh Yeah, they don't like us because of Mr. Bush. I'm sure after a two year love fest with Mr. Obama they will offer us the free care there citizens enjoy!!!
    Get Real People!!!! There is no free lunch except in Congress.

    Stuart Waller writes,

    "According to our Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Every civilized nation except our own has recognized that its citizens cannot enjoy life, experience liberty or pursue happiness if anyone's physical, mental or financial health can be stripped away at a moment's notice due to a change in employment status, a past or present medical condition, or the cold-blooded bottom line mentality of profit-driven private insurance companies."

    The Declaratiom refers to our right to PURSUE happiness, not our alleged right TO happiness. Similarly, our right to liberty sanctions the freedom to guide one's life in accordance with one's own independent judgment, free from coercion. We all have a right to PURSUE healthcare but not a right TO healthcare, i.e., a right to be provided with healthcare against the will of the providers. No one has the right to impose an unchosen obligation upon another, to enslave another by burdening them with a duty that they have not consented to fulfill. That is what it means to have rights.

    Stuart Waller further writes,

    "There is no logical reason why those in the medical profession should not be government employees, as are police and fire/rescue personnel, teachers, the military et al."

    The logical reason is this: private firms are far more efficient than government firms supported with tax dollars because private firms must continue to satisfy consumer demand in order to survive. Governments can simply raise taxes in order to make up for ineptitude. Thus the incentive for private firms to maximize efficiency and innovation. No such incentive exists for government firms.

    Medicare and Medicaid exempt from Federal Procurement Law?

    Barring a Federal agency from applying Federal Procurement Law is pure conspiracy to commit fraud on the American taxpayer. The people (including congressmen) involved in this “criminal” conspiracy to defraud the American government should be arrested, prosecuted, and thrown in jail (hard time) for this “Federal Crime”.

    Any product (screws to aircraft carriers) purchased directly or indirectly by a Federal agency must be purchased within the Federal procurement laws. These laws have “criminal penalties” for procurement fraud.

    To exempt any Federal agency from the law governing Federal Procurement opens that Federal agency to any number fraudulent practices but even worse “exempts criminals from prosecution for Federal Procurement Law violations”.

    The Federal agencies Medicare and Medicaid directly or indirectly procure billions in pharmaceutical and medical product. Under Federal Procurement Law Medicare and Medicaid procurement would result in discounts appropriate to the scale of the procurement (massive scale = large discounts). For those single source suppliers of product, they would have to expose their costs and negotiate a reasonable and fair profit.

    Just the attempt to exclude these two Federal agencies from Federal procurement law is conspiracy to commit fraud.


    Finding the truth is almost impossible. What would help is If Congress and all government employees paid by Taxpayer money were put on this plan. If that were done I would feel better about ending up on the plan myself.

    I watched your Journal last night for the second time with Wendell Potter. Thank you for re-airing the interview.It was the clearest explanation of the "talking points" of politicians who have linked up with big Pharma and the insurance industry against the truth.

    I teach a year-long Civics course to 8th graders. I explain that our Republic works on the principal that the PEOPLE give representatives the power to make laws that will provide for the "common good". Our Republic is becoming a sham and I turned off the TV last night in a profound despair.

    This morning, I wrote emails to several news channels asking them to also ask Wendell Potter to be a guest. I would like to see more of him on the talk circuit.
    Thank you Mr. Moyers for what you do for journalism and the Media and this country. You are an inspiration.

    4Honesty writes,

    "Libertarians warn that people will flock to the public financed option for medical care. They "ignore" that this means that, in the field of competition which they always praise, their (private capitalist) side loses. So now what's wrong with competition? Nothing: competition provides that less competitive businesses lose and are eliminated - by the Market."

    A "public option" erodes competition. Competition on the market refers to rivalrous behavior between enterprises that have to produce goods that satisfy consumer demand. A "public option" would involve the introduction of a government enterprise, a firm not subject to the profit and loss system. On a free market, a firm's survival is contingent upon its market performance in satisfying consumer demand. Government enterprises as taxpayer-financed firms are not subject to the profit and loss system - they make act inefficiently with impunity because all losses and costs are simply compensated with tax dollars or Fed-manufactured inflationary currency. Imagine if the Lakers played the Knicks and the Knicks could simply add points to their score electronically to compensate for their poor performance. That is NOT competition.

    In practice, such "public option" firms become notoriously inefficient and wasteful because the incentive to perform is lost by the guarantee of subsidies. Look at our public schools, arguably our very worst "public option." They are not run like businesses, i.e., without concern for quality output because the crappier they get the more funding they receive. So the incentive structure is completely inverted where bad performance is financed. The result: our students are reprehensibly stupid.

    So it will be with a medical "public option." It will attract more subsidies than a dark alley attracts rodents.

    The thing is that "public options" are subsidized to make them free, significantly increasing the quantity of their goods demanded. Also, governments protect "public options" not simply with subsidies but with restrictions on private providers. Take the Post Office. Congress legally forbids Fed Ex and UPS from charging lower rates than the Post Office because if they could they would bankrupt that infamously costly enterprise.

    4Honesty further writes,

    "Eliminating the corrupt, manipulating "Medical Industry" would mean no more millionaire lobbyists controlling our national legislators. Explain to me, Libertarians, how that is bad.

    Government monopoly is "bad" - but Libertarians & Conservatives think nothing of private monopolies and defend them strenuously. The choice is between government of, for and by the people and individuals (corporate managers) who usually put their wealth and whims above the public interest."

    Monopolies are a product of government, not of the market. There are a whole host of reasons why monopolies cannot last under capitalism. Free entry in a free market ensures that no industry is safe from potential competition. Vertical integration is stunted by the fact that vertically integrated companies find it very difficult to determine if the intermediate stages of production they participate in are profitable due to the fact that exchange doesn't occur. Governments however create and maintain monopolies routinely. First of all, government itself is a monopoly enterprise. Second, governments maintain monopolies through corporate welfare:

    -Post Office
    -Public Education
    -Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (in their haeyday)
    -Public Utilities....
    ....and a litany of other firms.

    Private firms on a free market must work for their money. Governments don't.

    If by "Medical Industry" you mean lobbying, than establishing a free market would do the trick perfectly. The "cutthroat" competition of the free market that so many lament actually entails a permanent separation between economy and state. Lobbying would cease to exist.

    The "Medical Industry Way and the Reform Way" is a false dichotomy. The former is a form of fascist corporatism; the latter, undoubtedly, is a semi-socialist scheme. Both fail because they institutionalize coercion. The fundamental choice is between the market way and the non-market way. We have been choosing the non-market way for years.

    4Honesty writes,

    "Libertarians warn that people will flock to the public financed option for medical care. They "ignore" that this means that, in the field of competition which they always praise, their (private capitalist) side loses. So now what's wrong with competition? Nothing: competition provides that less competitive businesses lose and are eliminated - by the Market."

    A "public option" erodes competition. Competition on the market refers to rivalrous behavior between enterprises that have to produce goods that satisfy consumer demand. A "public option" would involve the introduction of a government enterprise, a firm not subject to the profit and loss system. On a free market, a firm's survival is contingent upon its market performance in satisfying consumer demand. Government enterprises as taxpayer-financed firms are not subject to the profit and loss system - they make act inefficiently with impunity because all losses and costs are simply compensated with tax dollars or Fed-manufactured inflationary currency. Imagine if the Lakers played the Knicks and the Knicks could simply add points to their score electronically to compensate for their poor performance. That is NOT competition.

    In practice, such "public option" firms become notoriously inefficient and wasteful because the incentive to perform is lost by the guarantee of subsidies. Look at our public schools, arguably our very worst "public option." They are not run like businesses, i.e., without concern for quality output because the crappier they get the more funding they receive. So the incentive structure is completely inverted where bad performance is financed. The result: our students are reprehensibly stupid.

    So it will be with a medical "public option." It will attract more subsidies than a dark alley attracts rodents.

    The thing is that "public options" are subsidized to make them free, significantly increasing the quantity of their goods demanded. Also, governments protect "public options" not simply with subsidies but with restrictions on private providers. Take the Post Office. Congress legally forbids Fed Ex and UPS from charging lower rates than the Post Office because if they could they would bankrupt that infamously costly enterprise.

    4Honesty further writes,

    "Eliminating the corrupt, manipulating "Medical Industry" would mean no more millionaire lobbyists controlling our national legislators. Explain to me, Libertarians, how that is bad.

    Government monopoly is "bad" - but Libertarians & Conservatives think nothing of private monopolies and defend them strenuously. The choice is between government of, for and by the people and individuals (corporate managers) who usually put their wealth and whims above the public interest."

    Monopolies are a product of government, not of the market. There are a whole host of reasons why monopolies cannot last under capitalism. Free entry in a free market ensures that no industry is safe from potential competition. Vertical integration is stunted by the fact that vertically integrated companies find it very difficult to determine if the intermediate stages of production they participate in are profitable due to the fact that exchange doesn't occur. Governments however create and maintain monopolies routinely. First of all, government itself is a monopoly enterprise. Second, governments maintain monopolies through corporate welfare:

    -Post Office
    -Public Education
    -Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (in their haeyday)
    -Public Utilities....
    ....and a litany of other firms.

    Private firms on a free market must work for their money. Governments don't.

    If by "Medical Industry" you mean lobbying, than establishing a free market would do the trick perfectly. The "cutthroat" competition of the free market that so many lament actually entails a permanent separation between economy and state. Lobbying would cease to exist.

    The "Medical Industry Way and the Reform Way" is a false dichotomy. The former is a form of fascist corporatism; the latter, undoubtedly, is a semi-socialist scheme. Both fail because they institutionalize coercion. The fundamental choice is between the market way and the non-market way.

    I watch your show often and find it more informative than what you get on the marketing driven syndication's. keep up the good work.

    I was just watching the re-broadcast of the interview with Wendell Potter.

    I have always wondered how America would be if all politicians were paid minimum wage and had the same health care as the uninsured or would get health benefits if they worked 40 hours a week, but were only scheduled for 39 hours. How would these politicians vote then? Maybe then we would have "for the people by the people".

    America the Land of The Free..Freedom to die in poverty because you have been made bankrupt by medical expenses. Freedom to see your family's inheritance and future squandered because you had the misfortune to fall ill. Freedom to be trapped in a job you hate because you can't afford to lose you medical cover. Freedom to be thrown to the wolves if you do lose your job. Wake up America. You lost your freedom to big business a long time ago.

    The comment is about the lobbying money. We know that the banks and insurance companies are using tax payer's money to pay executive bonuses, what about lobbying? Do we know how much if any of this tax payer money is being used to lobby again the tax payer in the health care business. If it is being use in this manner isn't it a pay raise for the republicans. The ones that are so quick to remind everybody that they were against the bail out.

    A key statement in Mr. Potter's interview is that "the Industry" hires lobbyists (at 10s of millions of dollars added cost) to arm-twist Congress over this particular issue. The reason it's key is that other "Industries" have been doing this for decades too. We are not being ruled by our government (directly) we are being ruled by "Industries."

    This process led to:
    1. The election & subsequent re-election of G.W. Bush.
    2. The decades long defeats of pollution and climate change regulations.
    3. The decades long defeats of medical care reform.
    4. Other massive costs to Americans like the lack of immigration reform, the over spending in the military budget.

    This has all been a great "success" for those who are already wealthy, causing the increasing gap between the wealthy and the diminishing of the Middle Class and dis-empowering of Americans.

    Libertarians warn that people will flock to the public financed option for medical care. They "ignore" that this means that, in the field of competition which they always praise, their (private capitalist) side loses. So now what's wrong with competition? Nothing: competition provides that less competitive businesses lose and are eliminated - by the Market.

    Eliminating the corrupt, manipulating
    "Medical Industry" would mean no more millionaire lobbyists controlling our national legislators. Explain to me, Libertarians, how that is bad.

    Government monopoly is "bad" - but Libertarians & Conservatives think nothing of private monopolies and defend them strenuously. The choice is between government of, for and by the people and individuals (corporate managers) who usually put their wealth and whims above the public interest.

    Mr. Potter put it this way: The method used by the Medical Industry is to gain trust and then betray that trust. Now, let us choose between the Medical Industry Way and the Reform Way.

    A key statement in Mr. Potter's interview is that "the Industry" hires lobbyists (at 10s of millions of dollars added cost) to arm-twist Congress over this particular issue. The reason it's key is that other "Industries" have been doing this for decades too. We are not being ruled by our government (directly) we are being ruled by "Industries."

    This process led to:
    1. The election & subsequent re-election of G.W. Bush.
    2. The decades long defeats of pollution and climate change regulations.
    3. The decades long defeats of medical care reform.
    4. Other massive costs to Americans like the lack of immigration reform, the over spending in the military budget.

    This has all been a great "success" for those who are already wealthy, causing the increasing gap between the wealthy and the diminishing of the Middle Class and dis-empowering of Americans.

    Libertarians warn that people will flock to the public financed option for medical care. They "ignore" that this means that, in the field of competition which they always praise, their (private capitalist) side loses. So now what's wrong with competition? Nothing: competition provides that less competitive businesses lose and are eliminated - by the Market.

    Eliminating the corrupt, manipulating
    "Medical Industry" would mean no more millionaire lobbyists controlling our national legislators. Explain to me, Libertarians, how that is bad.

    Government monopoly is "bad" - but Libertarians & Conservatives think nothing of private monopolies and defend them strenuously. The choice is between government of, for and by the people and individuals (corporate managers) who usually put their wealth and whims above the public interest.

    Mr. Potter put it this way: The method used by the Medical Industry is to gain trust and then betray that trust. Now, let us choose between the Medical Industry Way and the Reform Way.

    No Heroes????
    O' no, Me thinks I am seeing things; a Martian with a blue nose, red eyes and white tail feathers.
    What I see cannot be.
    Yet, many things most strange fill the halls of mystery.
    The clock runs backward as we return to the dark ages.
    The rack is back and the drip of water tells of many people in cages.
    The mute voices gurgle sad sounds of no mercy as greedy people count their blood money.
    Justice and equity are vague memory of those who fought and died to save the day.
    Now the day has turned to night as strange creatures stalk the street with no concern for human life.
    O' yes.

    Let's face it, our government is corrupt. Too many members of both parties are virtual employees of the companies that "contribute" to their re-election campaigns.

    Meanwhile, we borrow billions from China to build bombs that we do not need, while too many of our kids go to schools that are understaffed and falling down, in many cases.

    The insurance company-healthcare issue is a decades-old case of corruption. We, the people, will never get the government we need, until this system of legalized bribery is ended.

    Bravo! Well done! It is nice to see good journalism after watching the piece of work done by John Stossel on ABC News show,20/20 this past Friday July 31/09 called "Health care;Does Canada Do It Better?. In fact it was posted by a viewer of the 20/20 show that said people should come to Bill Moyer's show on PBS and watch the true story about univeral health care program. (Unfortunately ABC News removed that views comment). I guess their scared of what the insurance company's share holders, that partially own ABC, will say when their stocks go down due to the negative comments (It is now sitting at 1700 negative comments). It is exactly what Mr.Potter said about the insurance companies having everybody in their back pocket. The report that John Stossel did would back this up. Mr.Stossel might as well have said he was speaking on behalf of the insurance companies and/or the Republicans. I am a Canadian and what John Stossel and other Republicans are saying about the Canadian health care system is total lies. Most of the media coverage being sent out to the American people on this issue, is no better then what communist countries do to their people.
    If USA is going to come close to be coming, "The greatest country in the world" they will at least have to have a univeral health care system. This is one of the very most important issue in US history and should not be used lightly by the media outlets and Republicans for votes.
    In closing, I would like to say that you, Mr.Moyer are doing a good thing by showing all sides of the issue. Keep up the geat work! C.Johnson, Ont,Canada

    It seems pretty straight forward. If health care is a "business", like all businesses, there are winners and losers; and with companies that fail, their customers also lose access to products and services. Do we tolerate having people lose (ie 10 hour ER waits, denial of coverage for surgery or medications)? Well, it's not access to an i-Pod or meal at a fine restaurant we are talking about. If then, access to health care is a right, let's call it such and get on with it. In many of the Commonwealth countries (Canada, Australia, NZ, etc.), their citizens have made the statement that they won't tolerate having losers so that a few will win. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Are there horror stories? Daily, as there are here in the US? Are they more rational about where, as a country, they say no and where they say yes? Much more.

    I smell some pr bs with Sieglinde Alexander's post. click on the name and see where it takes you. Paypal?

    Dear Mr. Moyers
    All Politicians who are against health care reform should be journalistically investigated and their affiliation to health insurance lobbies exposed.
    As a born German, living there for 42 years and now a US citizen since 1998, I know first hand how secure a person feels with government regulated health insurance, - when no bill arrives after a expensive surgery.
    Living in the USA since 1991 I had to learn the hard way that the human being becomes worth less as soon as he or she becomes sick..
    Becoming ill, needing surgery and MRI’s and having a 20 % co-pay, drives a middleclass person in to the poorhouse.
    How can a nation praise itself as the greatest country in the world, when half of it’s citizens are bankrupt, because of medical bills?
    A country’s wealth lies in its healthy citizens.
    But this country is littered with decent people who had to file for bankruptcy because of the corrupt insurance companies. For this reason the rest of the world no longer believes, that the United States is the economic leading country.
    Sieglinde Alexander

    According to our Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Every civilized nation except our own has recognized that its citizens cannot enjoy life, experience liberty or pursue happiness if anyone's physical, mental or financial health can be stripped away at a moment's notice due to a change in employment status, a past or present medical condition, or the cold-blooded bottom line mentality of profit-driven private insurance companies.

    There is no logical reason why those in the medical profession should not be government employees, as are police and fire/rescue personnel, teachers, the military et al.

    By the way, who the hell is Max Baucus to be in the position of telling the American public and President to go fly a kite regarding the single-payer option and every other proposal that challenges the medical-industrial complex? He is a minor state senator elected with about 348,000 votes in 2008, or roughly the population of Raleigh NC. Senate Democrats need to replace those chairmen who are antithetical to the changes mandated by the electorate in 2008, as well as the ineffectual and inarticulate minor state senator Harry Reid--can anyone imagine Lyndon Johnson when Majority Leader allowing someone like Max Baucus to hijack and destroy a must win agenda item?

    While Congress is in recess, Obama needs to do what he should have been doing since the May 11th "pledge" from the health industry to find $2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years, which is a full-court press in town halls, talk shows and all other venues with articulate spokespersons such as Peter Orszag, Kathleen Sebelius, Wendell Potter and Bill Clinton (an astute recommendation by Tina Brown). He also needs to produce a daily/weekly rebuttal to the steady stream of lies, misstatements and innuendos coming from Republicans, health industry front groups and their media allies. He and his surrogates need to ask critics, both "average citizens" and the professional naysayers, if they know what their own insurers policy is on denying coverage, cancelling coverage, lifetime maximums, etc., and what they would themselves if their own coverage was lost or cancelled or a lifetime maximum was reached. While it is true that people have a fear of the unknown, a surprising number of those with insurance have little understanding of how close they could be to losing that coverage.

    Clearly the state Insurance Commissioners are asleep at the wheel…just collecting their paychecks, neglecting their jobs and focusing on the next election. They should have long ago regulated rules that would have fixed/addressed ALL of the issues that were brought up in the interview.
    It's so easy to point the finger at the greedy capitalistic insurance companies that "gasp" manage to operate on a 20% administrative expense. I'd like to see anyone operate a business on a gross revenue of 20%. That 20% pays all of their business expenses then whatever tiny sliver is left over is "profit". The Government medicare plan only manages to run at 3% because it does not have be subject to lawsuits, pay taxes, do any marketing, or do research and development for new plan designs, or pay qualified insurance agents to provide objective advice. I'd bet the government would come in at 60% Admin expense if it were "apples to apples".

    Here in CA one of the very successful major health insurance carriers operates as not for profit-Their premiums and benefits are very comparable to the for profit competition. This proves just how far off base this "greedy wallstreet" is the root of the problem logic is.

    The government is suppost to act as a “check and balance” to oversee the private markets. When they fail to do their job the results are disastrous…as evidenced by the problems in our private health care system, and the recent demolition of our investment banking industry with global consequences. Why do they always point the finger at the "evil and greedy" private market instead of critically analyzing their lack of oversight.

    The insurance companies are only operating within the framework of the regulations that are mandated to them.

    Unfortunately there isn’t a great answer when we are trying to figure out how to finance American’s health care. I believe that deep down American's are smart enough to prefer a private market executive that is operating under predictable principles of capitalism, over the government who cannot be controlled or overseen. If we don’t like contract recessions (or anything else for that matter) we can easily regulate change…
    Why this hasn't already been regulated is the real question that they should have done a documentary on.

    Those that believe the government should take over health care should be thinking twice....the government can’t even effectively regulate/oversee health care – how the heck are they going to run it??
    Seriously Scary thought!
    PS-Nobody even bothers to ask how the Govt run plan will reduce medical care expenses...that's because it won't - you can't effectively change the price of something by changing how you pay for it. How dumb do they think we are?

    I am one of the lucky Americans who has had excellent health insurance his entire life due to generous employers. On one occasion, my insurance company did retroactively decline to cover a procedure that had been performed at a major University Hospital and within a week I received a telephone message on my machine telling me that I had to pay a $9000 bill within a week or it would go to collections. In the end there had been a mistake and the insurance company did cover the costs, but you can imagine my shock.

    My story should make clear that although the insurance companies are clearly profiteering weasels, the hospitals and even the doctors are not always saints. I've even had doctors recommend major elective surgery to me on the grounds that "insurance will cover it". Is that the basis for a medical decision?

    We need a two tiered system: Basic public health care, paid for by tax dollars and covering everyone, AND Supplemental Private insurance to cover expensive, non-life threatening issues and to provide accelerated access to diagnostics and care. MDs should be required to participate in the first and permitted to participate in the second.

    This would eliminate the profit motive in basic care, but allow the US to maintain its cutting-edge, elite health care edge as well. It is fine for shareholders to make money by speculating on which insurance company will be most efficient at providing supplements to care, but it is immoral to profit by gambling on peoples lives and how little we can manage to spend on care without killing people.

    To William:

    I hear what you're saying! Please see my post, "Rhyming for Change" posted 8/01/2009. Bingo! you hit on the basic problem, which is a whole 'nother rhyme in the making!

    “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little”.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    “One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment... If it doesn't turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand“.
    Harry S. Truman


    Congress has made excuses as to why healthcare reform cannot happen since the Truman era. Those excuses no matter how large or difficult are no longer acceptable. Our country has suffered and is still suffering because of the lack of effort from both sides of the hill to make necessary healthcare reform. The majority of Americans are fed up with rhetoric and demand action. Small changes at this point are not worth our time. A major overhaul of the system is required and must include a public option that covers everyone and is not negotiable.

    President Obama has done the right thing. He has set an agressive agenda for Congress to put Healthcare Reform legislation on his desk this fall. Congress is asking for more time. Great, at least we know Congress is msking a serious effort to craft good effective legislation at a faster pace than expected. The President is an intelligent man, don't think for a minute that things are not playing out pretty close to his intentions. He has spent a great deal of time informing the public and raising awareness across the country. Though some news agencies are reporting lower approval ratings, others are reporting the opposite once people understand the ideas being put forth and how they work. Now is the time for President Obama to put forth more specific ideas to Congress and inject himself more in the policy making. It is up to the people to put pressure on Congress. The question is whether or not the people's will is more important to Congress than money from lobbyists.

    I reccomend that everyone call their representive and let them know how to vote.

    “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little”.
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    “One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment... If it doesn't turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand“.
    Harry S. Truman


    Congress has made excuses as to why healthcare reform cannot happen since the Truman era. Those excuses no matter how large or difficult are no longer acceptable. Our country has suffered and is still suffering because of the lack of effort from both sides of the hill to make necessary healthcare reform. The majority of Americans are fed up with rhetoric and demand action. Small changes at this point are not worth our time. A major overhaul of the system is required and must include a public option that covers everyone and is not negotiable.

    President Obama has done the right thing. He has set an agressive agenda for Congress to put Healthcare Reform legislation on his desk this fall. Congress is asking for more time. Great, at least we know Congress is msking a serious effort to craft good effective legislation at a faster pace than expected. The President is an intelligent man, don't think for a minute that things are not playing out pretty close to his intentions. He has spent a great deal of time informing the public and raising awareness across the country. Though some news agencies are reporting lower approval ratings, others are reporting the opposite once people understand the ideas being put forth and how they work. Now is the time for President Obama to put forth more specific ideas to Congress and inject himself more in the policy making. It is up to the people to put pressure on Congress. The question is whether or not the people's will is more important to Congress than money from lobbyists.

    I reccomend that everyone call their representive and let them know how to vote.

    a letter to the president:
    dear mr. president:

    like all presidents before you, it no doubt would please you to know that history would one day declare you a "great president". most presidents, if they were living today, would be disappointed by history's verdict. one reads that you greatly admire abraham lincoln and would like history to note the similarity between you. i can tell you how to make it happen.

    "great presidents" made very tough decisions, against the odds, against the judgment of those they admired, against immediate self-interest, but for what they knew to be right. lincoln knew that it was right to end slavery whatever the cost. lbj, while not yet in the pantheon of great presidents, made some great decisions which still may one day place him there. lbj called men of great wisdom and passion to his office, they gave him a sermon he could not ignore, and he provided great leadership, pushing through the civil rights act and medicare. while there is still much to be done on racial understanding, lincoln and lbj own that subject and there is nothing you can do in that arena that will make you a great president.

    but you are lucky. there is one cause-- health care for all americans-- the outcome of which could easily make your presidency lincolnesque. and while you have done much to show the importance of health care, you need to buck up, make a tough decision against the odds, against the judgment of those you admire, against your immediate self-interest, but what you know to be right. you need to push all out for a universal, government run health care system.

    you need to call out the senators, representatives, industry executives and lobbyists who are
    lying and deceitful, self-interested and duplicitous, using trojan horses as blockades. many of them absolutely do not want what we need--universal, affordable health care--because that would be bad for business. they do not want our government to show again what it already has demonstrated through medicare and the veterans administration--that it can run an efficient,
    effective health care system at much less cost than private insurance companies, and with greater satisfaction of its consumers. these self-absorbed, humanely and civically blind people care only that the government gravy train keeps delivering gravy to bathe their elevated and cushioned lifestyles, and if the train crushes a few million peons struggling to survive---well, that's just part of the cost of business.

    a letter to the president:
    dear mr. president:
    like all presidents before you, it no doubt would please you to know that history would one day declare you a "great president". most presidents, if they were living today, would be disappointed by history's verdict. one reads that you greatly admire abraham lincoln and would like history to note the similarity between you. i can tell you how to make it happen.

    "great presidents" made very tough decisions, against the odds, against the judgment of those they admired, against immediate self-interest, but for what they knew to be right. lincoln knew that it was right to end slavery whatever the cost. lbj, while not yet in the pantheon of great presidents, made some great decisions which still may one day place him there. lbj called men of great wisdom and passion to his office, they gave him a sermon he could not ignore, and he provided great leadership, pushing through the civil rights act and medicare. while there is still much to be done on racial understanding, lincoln and lbj own that subject and there is nothing you can do in that arena that will make you a great president.

    but you are lucky. there is one cause-- health care for all americans-- the outcome of which could easily make your presidency lincolnesque. and while you have done much to show the importance of health care, you need to buck up, make a tough decision against the odds, against the judgment of those you admire, against your immediate self-interest, but what you know to be right. you need to push all out for a universal, government run health care system.

    you need to call out the senators, representatives, industry executives and lobbyists who are
    lying and deceitful, self-interested and duplicitous, using trojan horses as blockades. many of them absolutely do not want what we need--universal, affordable health care--because that would be bad for business. they do not want our government to show again what it already has demonstrated through medicare and the veterans administration--that it can run an efficient,
    effective health care system at much less cost than private insurance companies, and with greater satisfaction of its consumers. these self-absorbed, humanely and civically blind people care only that the government gravy train keeps delivering gravy to bathe their elevated and cushioned lifestyles, and if the train crushes a few million peons struggling to survive---well, that's just part of the cost of business.

    I was so angry I had to stop watching. I couldn't sleep. I have known for a long time that something is so wrong with the insurance industry. I am going bankrupt due to high medical bills as a result of having Chronic Inflammatory Demylenating Polyneuropathy. Now my hospital wants to know how much I will be paying upfront before I have a test. I am already paying a high insurance premium, $50 co-pay and an extraordinary out of pocket. I no longer can afford any tests when each test costs me between $250 and $1,500. It is a sad day when insurance companies, hospitals and doctors make you sick.

    I, too, am very discouraged by how health care "reform" seems to be off the table. Today I read a piece about how self-referrals for MRIs an CTs increased many times over when physicians have the equipment in their own offices. My particular interest is accessible mental health care for all who need it. Last night, after seeing Potter for the second time and listening to the hijacking of Congress by pharmaceutical companies, I said to my Sister-companion-watcher, "We haven't been praying enough. " I have been advocating, calling my elected representatives but they seem immoveable apparently because of the $$ at risk for themselves. When I conclude, "I've done what I can," then it's time to turn it over to a power greater than myself. I wish every member of Congress could experience something like the "conversion" that Potter had. I know what it's like in Wise, VA, as I practiced disability law in WV for 20+ years.

    After seeing the first airing of your show with Wendell Potter, I was so angry, I could not rest until I got my ideas in writing. Somehow it seemed rhyming my opinions worked best, so here goes: RHYMING For CHANGE

    The Healthcare Debate is still raging, I watch with great interest this “show”.
    Opinions profusing, it’s all so confusing -
    But this, I can tell you, I know:
    They’re shaking their heads in Great Britain, in Canada, Scotland and Spain.
    They’re watching us blow it, they already know it:
    Healthcare for Profit’s insane!

    Insurance companies lobby. They warn us the world is not well.
    In order to sell us, they sincerely tell us
    They fear that we’re all going to Hell.
    “We care about only your welfare,“ the Company spokesman exudes.
    But empathy’s thick - until you get sick
    And you find what your contract excludes!

    Big Pharma endorses the deal so far, on a TV advertisement spot.
    Their only condition? - NO competition.
    And that’s what exactly they got.
    They would have you believe it’s perdition, relying on socialized med.
    But I swear I’m not lying, it’s better than dying
    For lack of a hospital bed!

    They say that big change is disruptive. (Disruptive for whom? you might ask.)
    Thus politic’s plea - the Powers that Be
    Are simply not up to the task.
    The Congress in impotent wisdom, though they be Doves or be Hawks,
    Will turn a deaf ear, to you and me here,
    But they listen when Big Money talks!

    Some experts came in from the Mayo, advising as best they were able.
    Said, “Care based on wealth is bad for your health.”
    (Well, they won’t get seats at the table!)
    If you think there will come resolution, you might as well laugh as to cry.
    When the bill gets to Senate, won’t matter what’s in it -
    Healthcare for Profit won’t fly!

    When Big Biz with Congress got friendly, inquiring minds started to think:
    ‘They’re so tightly tethered, so in-bed together!
    There’s a smell. It’s beginning to stink!’
    The result of that unholy bargain: The Rulers became The Great Whore.
    We see what they’re doing: (It’s us they are s------g!)
    So? I’m mad! I can’t take any more!

    I say we get moving - Get Ready to Roll! Get down! Get dirty! Get smarmy!
    Let’s give ‘em the Dump - like in Forest Gump
    when they marched on DC like an army!
    We don’t have much time left to do it, so now we must do it, or die!
    SO GO OUT AND SHOUT IT, THERE’S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT
    HEALTHCARE FOR PROFIT’S A LIE!!!!!


    K. R. Harris August 1, 2009

    After seeing the first airing of your show with Wendell Potter, I was so angry, I could not rest until I got my ideas in writing. Somehow it seemed rhyming my opinions worked best, so here goes: RHYMING For CHANGE

    The Healthcare Debate is still raging, I watch with great interest this “show”.
    Opinions profusing, it’s all so confusing -
    But this, I can tell you, I know:
    They’re shaking their heads in Great Britain, in Canada, Scotland and Spain.
    They’re watching us blow it, they already know it:
    Healthcare for Profit’s insane!

    Insurance companies lobby. They warn us the world is not well.
    In order to sell us, they sincerely tell us
    They fear that we’re all going to Hell.
    “We care about only your welfare,“ the Company spokesman exudes.
    But empathy’s thick - until you get sick
    And you find what your contract excludes!

    Big Pharma endorses the deal so far, on a TV advertisement spot.
    Their only condition? - NO competition.
    And that’s what exactly they got.
    They would have you believe it’s perdition, relying on socialized med.
    But I swear I’m not lying, it’s better than dying
    For lack of a hospital bed!

    They say that big change is disruptive. (Disruptive for whom? you might ask.)
    Thus politic’s plea - the Powers that Be
    Are simply not up to the task.
    The Congress in impotent wisdom, though they be Doves or be Hawks,
    Will turn a deaf ear, to you and me here,
    But they listen when Big Money talks!

    Some experts came in from the Mayo, advising as best they were able.
    Said, “Care based on wealth is bad for your health.”
    (Well, they won’t get seats at the table!)
    If you think there will come resolution, you might as well laugh as to cry.
    When the bill gets to Senate, won’t matter what’s in it -
    Healthcare for Profit won’t fly!

    When Big Biz with Congress got friendly, inquiring minds started to think:
    ‘They’re so tightly tethered, so in-bed together!
    There’s a smell. It’s beginning to stink!’
    The result of that unholy bargain: The Rulers became The Great Whore.
    We see what they’re doing: (It’s us they are s------g!)
    So? I’m mad! I can’t take any more!

    I say we get moving - Get Ready to Roll! Get down! Get dirty! Get smarmy!
    Let’s give ‘em the Dump - like in Forest Gump
    when they marched on DC like an army!
    We don’t have much time left to do it, so now we must do it, or die!
    SO GO OUT AND SHOUT IT, THERE’S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT
    HEALTHCARE FOR PROFIT’S A LIE!!!!!


    K. R. Harris August 1, 2009

    To John

    When you say Wendel Potter is wrong, I am sure you are on the other side, because you have money and are one of the republicans.

    No surprise!!.

    A professional comment from a doctor that recently died....when asked if he could change just 1 thing in the Medical
    industry, what would it be? His answer---"Get rid of the Insurance companies."-----Dr. DeBakey, Houston,TX.

    Everybody is sick and tired of the corruption and self serving politicians.

    But no one is doing anything to change the status-quo.

    Posting online will not change anything.

    Ask yourself "What am I going to do about it?"

    Get out there and contribute to making change.

    Don't just talk - DO SOMETHING

    I am answering the writer who thinks that a single-payer medical plan will be too complicated for us. Where have you been?
    Surely you are aware that US. is the only indus-trialized nation in our sphere doesn't have a government operated, single-payer medical program? One reason is that gives the best health care for half the cost. That is also the reason that you have to dig to get and spread the tr uth.Corporations have bought the main stream press and, worse yet they do it with our money, the billions of dollars they impoverish us and get from our pain and suffering. Surely you are aware of Australia? Or France?Google Australia's that you google Australia's health plan which covers every complaint and every style,including Naturopathic and they do it on 50 percent per person of what what health care costs U.S. One of the arguments for a single-payer plan is the cost of ours. A Government plan doesn't pay CEOs billion- dollar bonuses. The health corporations are buying the media to keep the truth out of the press. If the citizens get even a trickle of it, they haven't a chance of continuing to keep us sick milking our agony. Wake up. Take a look around you. We are only developed nation that still staggers along with privately paid and administered health care accepting pauperization at our graves. Go to google and and download health care in Norway. Just in case you still have doubts, read on: three years ago my son-in law died of cancer. He was young and strong, so it took about eighteen months and when it was over my daughter had nothing. All five of their rentals, the ones where she had proudly done every bit of the maintenance, belonged to their bank: ditto all 12 acres of their land five miles from the ocean. Health corporations owned the bank. She now could only go to doctor as an "emergency." That's how they missed the tumor that is squeezing and sucking the life from her brain. I too spent all I had and Uncle Cal give her his home, the extended lot, the garden he loved—everything of value he had.
    Readers, need more?

    I can barely watch this Wendell Potter interview again--it is so painful. I, myself, have Multiple Scleosis. I have so much respect for those that "blow the whistle" on flargrant selfishness, I am hoping we can pass health care for all--I am particulary a fan of first payer.

    I watched this segment again..why? I don't know...it made me sick and sad the 1st time! To realize that your country is nothing more then a CASH COW for Big Corporations/and politicians over its own citizens....If I could afford too, I'd move out of America. This country is NOT the country I grew up believing in....its turned into the United States of Greed & Selfishness! Money $$$ is Truly America's GOD...no,matter how much people try to say otherwise..the Truth Has been Revealed!

    It was veryu difficult for me to watch the Wendell Potter inverview--I, myself, have Mmultiple Sclerosis so I know what "pre-existing condition" means. I was fortunate enough to sign up for health care before I was diagnosed. I am very much a fan of health care for all--a fan of single pair. I am so appreciative of those that are brave enough to "blow the whistle." Susan Anderson

    I watched your telecast on this subject and was sooo appalled. It is hard to believe this can be happening in the USA. But as you have shown - it does and it should wake all of us up.

    I thank God everyday that Obama is our present president and I pray he does not give in to these vultures.

    I am so disgusted with our congress people & senators that they can do this to their constitutes. They can be purchased and they should give them night mares. How can they sleep at night?

    Thank you so much Bill for bringing this to us in such an understandable way. We need more news people doing this. Also, thanks to Mr. Potter for having the courage to come forward.

    WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!

    I am a retired epidemiologist and long time supporter of single-payer health care. I am glad that Mr. Potter has come forward; but everything he said was well-known to those who have been following health care for many years. Health care does not work as a market commodity and those who claim letting the market work will lead to the best quality and timeliness for health care are simply parroting the propoganda from the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical companies fighting to maintain their obscene profits at our expense. However, one aspect of your program troubled me, the reference to the Nataline Sarkysian case. Even in a single-payer health care system, not every medical intervention, especially given the shortage of organs, will be approved. Since I have actually written an OpEd on the Nataline Sarkysian case which develops my reasoning, I refer the reader to it at "Who Deserves an Organ Transplant - and Who Should Decide? Questions Regarding the Tragic Death of Nataline Sarkisyan"
    http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/?q=371_editorial_transplant


    This issue is turning into a very visible case study of what happens when the will of the majority of Americans opposes the special interests. Depending on whether the legislature accedes to the will of the people and adopts a viable public option or concedes to the to the might and money of the insurance lobby and scraps it, it may be the time to re-consider the validity of Gekko’s question , “You're not naive enough to think we're living in a democracy , are you buddy?”

    While Potter may have transgressed in the past, I’m glad that he brought the issue we had under the microscope into sharp focus.

    Where is the money lobbyists pay to Senators/Congressmen coming from? Profits - from denying care to Americans. Think about the people who take that money and are part of the problem.

    I thought the interview with Wendell Potter was excellent. Leave it to Bill Moyers to ask the right questions and have an in-depth interview with someone who knows the health insurance industry so well. I was amazed that Mr. Potter hadn't realized the 'wrongs' of the health insurance business until he attended the health expedition and saw for himself the faces of people without health care, but, let's face it, there are thousands upon thousands of people, low and high on the company ladder who knowingly work for a company whose ethics they don't agree with. What matters now is that Wendell Potter has come forward and has shed transparency on the profit-making of Cigna, at the cost of the well-being of the people they 'insure'. I hope that Mr. Potter will make his voice heard over and over to the American people. It's very frustrating to those of us who want a public option to hear the lies that are being spread about it.
    My hat, as always, is off to Bill Moyers for his integrity and hard, honest work.

    Michael Legnon, I'm with you. I found Wendell to be disingenuous and way too passive in righting the wrongs he committed for decades.

    He did seem genuinely afraid of hell, though, so perhaps we can take some comfort in the fact that he will burn in the hottest part forever after he dies. The only way that won't happen is if he works as hard and as long to help his fellow Americans as he worked to hurt them.

    I'm not seeing that happen. He's talked to Bill and he's testified in Congress. That's it. Not quite the caliber of PR campaign he waged during his Cigna career, is it?

    And to answer your question, apparently he has been the Sr Fellow for Health Care with with Center for Media and Democracy since May.

    They probably don't have a private jet, but I betcha he makes a hell of a lot more money than I do!

    Dear Mr. Moyer,
    I did not see the first broadcast of you interview with Mr. Potter. I was out of the country, in fact I was in Canada with my sister who had been diagnosed with cancer.
    I was born and grew up in Canada and experienced their Socialized Health firsthand.
    The problem I have with all of this debate over health care is that I do not know what to believe. There is good and bad on both sides. For instance, my sister got good care while I was there, mainly because she has had access to a family physician, the same one, for years. Doctors are scarce in Canada and if you do not have a family doctor, you will have a difficult time to find one. They are overworked and underpaid and in my opinion, sometimes unqualified. I witnessed some gross mistakes which almost cost my sister's life.
    While I was there I learned that my niece had been diagnosed with a tumor the size of a baseball on her ovary. This was in February. She has to wait until November to see a specialist and has to travel out of town to do that. When I left in June, the tumor had grown to the size of a football........she is still waiting.
    There are good stories and their are horror stories.
    I am an American citizen and have lived in this country since 1973, I considered returning to Canada many times, but seeing firsthand how difficult it is to get health services, incredibility long wait times, and the difficulty of getting a family physician decided for me. I remain in the USA. At least here I have the option of buying insurance.
    The insurance industry may be corrupt in this country, but so are the politicians, in fact this corruption seems to have invaded the whole government, business industry and the Medical industry like Cancer itself.
    Somewhere along the line, the love of power overcame us and we lost our Honour and Integrity. Once we step over that line, it is almost impossible to cross back. Almost, if not surely, like selling your soul to the devil.
    God help America
    M. MacKinnon

    Steve G

    I do appreciate your explanation of the American mindset. However, to say "Liberty or Death" was the principle of the American Revolution is wrong. That idea was tacked on as a propaganda slogan after the war started. The initial argument and slogan at the time was "No Taxation Without Representation". If the UK parliament and king had agreed to allowing M.Ps from the Americas to attend Westminster then your Revolution would have stalled before it started. There was even opposition from some of the first 13 States for a complete breakaway from the Motherland. Pity we had a stupid king at the time, lol, and the rest is history. Granted there was never a military conflict as such here in Britain but that does not mean there has never been any violence by the people against the governments of the day. For over 200 years the British people have had insurrections and mass civil unrest when they perceive injustic from the government of the day. We are not a passive people and will make a stand when necessary. I can list numerous times where civil unrest has brought down governments here, and has certainly changed the status quo, for the betterment of British society. I personally think the Monachy and such like are outdated institutions but while Britain remains a Democratic country with the majority of the population happy to have a Monarchy I guess we are stuck with them.lol.

    I wish someone would use a simple pie chart to illustrate the expenses of a public vs. private insuror. The public would have 2 slices; adminstrative costs and payments for actual medical care. The private option, the smae, except it would need an additional slice for shareholders profit. Maybe then more people would understand the fundemantal difference. Americans, do we expect our schools, police and fire departments, libraries etc. to turn a profit for shareholders?
    we are not talking about manufacturing pencils here-healthcare is community issue-how care for one another.

    At the end of last night's show with Mr. Potter, Mr. Moyer commented on the concessions that PHarma and insurance have already acquired in the forthcoming Healthcare Legislation. However, I don't see the comment in the transcript on this site.
    It was extremely important information that the public should be aware of. Would you please post it.

    HEALTHCARE RUN BY BUREAUCRATS

    In defense of the bureaucrats, oh no, no, NO! They do not need defending! They deserve compliments.

    Look at their record. When the Germans were blowing holes through Europe, we feared they would harness nuclear energy and would wind up owning the world; we assigned the task of attaining the nuclear bomb ahead of them to the bureaucrats who very successfully did exactly that. It did bring the Japanese war to a fast end.

    The Soviets launched their sputnik into space in 1957. Our private enterprise sputtered away while the Soviets made considerable advances in their space endeavor, leaving us further behind. As late as 1962 we made the decision to put a man on the moon within a decade. Was that ambitious or crazy? Then guess what we did. Did we really let the bureaucrats run the project? Ahead of schedule they put two men on the moon.

    President George Bush used private enterprise in a big way to fight his wars, using mercenaries, military construction of various kinds, logistics for delivery of all kinds of military needs, and we have been badly bogged down, with no end in sight. Now if we had used the bureaucrats like we did during World War 2, they simultaneously conquered the German and Japanese war machines that most nations in the world were not able to contain.

    The bureaucrats have very successfully run Medicare, Social security and the Post office. They monitor and regulate the many essentials for us Americans. Our food supply does not poison us. Our drugs are safe. They monitor the volume at the gas pump and verify the quality of gas that goes in our cars. The many services that private enterprise offers us are licensed after testing looking out for our welfare.

    The saying is: private enterprise is efficient. Efficient? How many banks have gone under? Wall Street financial companies are in a mess. Real Estate companies, Auto companies and how many other businesses are going bankrupt? Money is power and they used this power to destroy themselves. They paid congress to take those regulating bureaucrats off their back, and they would police themselves, ha, ha. The Auto companies ‘built in obsolescence’ and in so doing became obsolescent themselves. The foreign auto companies tore into their once ever so loyal market share.

    There are good corporations and bad ones, and by bad it includes questionable honesty. We learn about the bad ones that are large ones. How many small ones are hidden underwater like the mass of an iceberg? Naming just a few corporation that made the news Enron, Quest, Tyco, Adelphia, Global Crossing, World Com, Arthur Anderson, Harken and the reader probably knows many more of them.

    Now ‘they’ want the Health Insurance companies to continue running our health system. Their INefficiency is outstanding. The horrendous condition is foremost in the minds of the American people, Congress and Corporations. 30% of health care cost goes to insurance that enriches the officers with massive pay and bonuses. Money spent on advertising and their administration does nothing to enhance our health. Use of insurance companies will continue to increase the cost exponentially. As a third party they offer no price resistance and in addition their incentive is to allow prices to rise. Price increases result in higher premiums. Even if the percentage profit remains the same, the gross profit increases. Now they have reached a stage where they advertise “you cannot afford not to be covered”.

    Who are “they”? They are the insurance companies. They consist of Congress people who have received contributions, a pittance for the insurance companies, who will make considerably more from us in the future. They are the TV stations that make much money from running insurance company ads. They are people like you and me who believe what ever we hear on TV.

    You and I are supposed to control Congress. We need to understand who are running these expensive ads, and what do they expect to gain from it. As is typical of the many not so honest corporations your and my welfare is not what they will spend money on.
    Please circulate as widely as you can.

    There's no difference whatsoever between what the insurance companies AND OUR LEGISLATORS are doing to the People today, and what Hitler and his death camps did to Europe. He simply put them behind wire. Our legislators just turn their backs on the voters and let us die miserable deaths because of a lack of healthcare and the financial ruin that comes with it.
    This is not the America I grew up in. Amerika of the corporate elite has arrived.
    Quoting our nations basic formation:
    "When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

    The cost of covering 48 million uninsured -- and whether to provide a public option - have become battle
    lines for political careers and private gain. Republicans seem more concerned with finding political advantage than with the welfare of ordinary Americans.

    Regrettably, several premises upon which all sides jump to conclusions are deeply flawed.

    ITEM: The 48 million number is a joke. It's roughly two years old, during which time millions of Americans have
    become both unemployed and uninsured -- at the rate of
    about half a million a month since November, 2008.

    ITEM: The 48 million can't include illegal immigrants, because no one knows how many there are. Back in
    2007, when a small cadre of House Republicans scuttled comprehensive immigration reform, the number of illegals was usually pegged at 12 million, but often 'as high as 20
    million.' No one knew. That level of ignorance is now exacerbated by an equally mysterious estimate of those
    who have returned home, due to economic and enforcement pressures.

    ITEM: Congress seems in favor of keeping some form of employer/employee paid health insurance, but it's a farce. With rates predicted to rise by over 9% in 2010, PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that 42% of employers plan to increase their employees' share of the costs. Those still employed validly fear not only losing their jobs, but the diminished role in cost sharing that business is taking with those still working.

    Will the future be one where employers can no longer afford to fund health care as a benefit, while workers with flat or declining paychecks cannot then afford to buy it on their own?

    ITEM: Though layoffs have declined some in recent weeks, no one claims to know when net job gains will exceed job losses -- nor whether we are somewhere in a W-shaped recession, with a second downward spike worse than the first. The actual percentage of unemployed, part timers and discouraged workforce-drop-outs is now roughly 16% nationally, but it's 20% in California -- a number for our
    most populous state distressingly close to the worst levels of the Great Depression.

    If, then, employers are increasingly unable -- or unwilling -- to provide full healthcare benefits for those still employed, it is absurd to think they will help cover the '48 million non-insured,' plus the millions more laid off or working part time -- much less uncounted millions of illegal immigrants still here or poised to return when the economy recovers.

    It will cost a horrendous amount to insure them all. Who will pay for it? -- individuals who are struggling to survive? The taxpayers already on the hook for billions in bailout money and stimulus spending?

    Those questions should certainly raise this one: Do we really want to provide healthcare via private insurers --
    where a big chunk of the cost goes to corporate profits, high paid executives and shareholders trying to replenish
    their portfolios?

    We have a business community that finds healthcare costs so great it must pass more of them onto employees, who in their turn find the higher costs incompatible with smaller paychecks. Yet this same business community worries about a public option that they fear could explode the deficit and
    raise their taxes.

    And all these folks are OK with 'reform' held hostage to corporate profits?

    Without question there are ways to construct a 'public option' that avoid odious levels of governmental involvement. But whether they'll be allowed to see the light of day is another question. But one thing is certain: to attempt any 'reform' that
    funds our healthcare PLUS the profits private insurers make in the process -- while expecting that such a system cover everyone -- is a fool's errand indeed. It will make a full economic recovery unsustainable, and destroy the competitiveness that supports our quality of life.

    It gets pretty hard to identify an 'American Dream' if every day more people become too poor and unhealthy to attain it.


    Curtis Bernard Schmidt, Ph.L., S.T.L., Ph.D.
    Developmental and Clinical Psychology
    Author: Seven Deadly Threats to America, Outskirts Press, 2008

    To Tom Walker,

    “Why should anyone have to have a health savings account to pay health insurance premiums, deductibles , copays or anything else that perpetuates private health insurance?”

    Nobody should be required to have healthcare insurance or a health savings account. But those options should be available to all on a level and fair playing field.

    I understand that people are very angry about the whole healthcare mess but people tend to make poor decisions when they let their anger, hatred or fear influence their judgment. There is nothing wrong with the idea of private insurance; some nations with universal healthcare systems also have private insurance available to the people.

    But there is something definitely wrong with what is currently being sold as “healthcare insurance” in the United States. The “insurance” that lots of people are now buying doesn’t actually fit the definition of insurance. The people selling it don’t fit the definition of “insurers”. Most people seem to think that if some crook sells them something with the word “insurance” written on it then that thing they bought must be insurance. That’s just bizarre. People know that there is something wrong with this thing they are buying, they know that they are buying it from lying crooks and then they believe the lying crooks when the crooks label it “insurance”. Why would people think that way?

    Anger. Anger clouds people’s judgment and anger is an emotion that lying crooks can use against you. They can also manipulate you with your hatred and fear.

    The reality of the situation is that in the United States of America it isn’t possible to get rid of private insurance but it is possible to get rid of the dishonest and deceitful stuff that is being passed off as “insurance”.

    People get to choose. They can let their anger, hatred and fear rule their judgment or they can reason and think. Most people choose to let anger, hatred and fear rule.

    Problem solvers choose to reason and think.

    Tony G.

    The universal healthcare systems in the rest of the world operate LIKE monarchies. That doesn’t mean that the systems were created and handed down by some king or queen. In a simple monarchy-like system, the king(a government entity) provides for his subjects (the people). The relationship between government and people is a lot like a family relationship. There is a social order to it and it can work quite well.

    The problem for the U.S. is that those sorts of governmental systems were tossed out when the nation was founded. That short version of U.S. history was to give you a sense of the way the American system and thought process evolved and how it works. Yanks and Brits have a common ancestry but there was a violent split over the way governments can operate.

    In much of the world the thinking follows something like the principle: “Give us healthcare, it is our right and we need our health above all other things.”

    In the United States an underlying principle that influences the thinking is much different, the principle is: “Give me Liberty or give me Death.” The United States was set up using the Liberty or Death rule and it’s a whole different way of thought.

    “Most if not all of the social changes in the UK in the last 150 years were brought about by the very same sort of people you describe as your founding fathers.”-Tony

    If that were true the U.K. would be a completely different place. There would be no monarchy or titles of any kind and it’s not likely that you would have your healthcare system. The United States was not founded according to the nonviolent principles of Quakers and preachers. Those people who stayed behind and fought for change in your country, how many got shot and how many British soldiers did they kill fighting for change? How many cannons, how much artillery did they need to get the changes they wanted? What were the military battles like when they tried and succeeded in the violent overthrow of the existing government? Did they toss in the “right to bear arms” when they instituted all of the changes to your government?

    Every year Americans celebrate the day that the Founders of this nation committed treason and signed their own death warrants. The people who started the United States didn’t stop at civil disobedience. They took it all the way to civil war; it was liberty or death. That mindset is a part of what it means to be an American and it becomes an underlying part of the healthcare debate on this side of the pond.

    The U.S. is a nation founded on a treasonous suicide pact and the violent overthrow of an existing government, and the U.S. is populated by generations of the offspring of rule-evading, non-conforming troublemakers from around the planet. You wanted to know why there would be such opposition to universal healthcare in the United States. It’s because of our history. Our history is an important part of who we are as a people.

    I feel another bailout coming. Which insurance companies are "too big to fail"? ... and which ones can just "go out of business or be bought up by the potential bailees"?

    As one of the 'bailors', I'm tired of heaving this money-bucket upwards!

    Healthcare (or lack thereof) in the US is one of the most non-productive (yet very profitable) contributing factors to the decline (or future decline) of this potentially progressive Nation. Sick and/or unhealthy citizens cannot sustain this Nation into the future and the next bail-out will be for some other nation to bail out the US!

    The Medicare program is already in place and needs to become available to anyone who desires it. A few tweeks wouldn't hurt, but the playing field would definitely become more level and competition for the healthcare dollar would absolutely ensure better quality of healthcare by the money-grubbers who not only control the industry, but also control the health of this Nation (which is failing at an astronomical rate).

    Mr. President, do your job! Level this playing field and put competition, not profit bloat, back into capitalism. The beneficiaries are priceless and (if we stay healthy) are the ones who can keep you in your current position: Buying the job is one thing, staying there is another; but selling out to this (or any) industry is unforgivable.

    Finally, thanks Mr. Moyer for all you do to enlighten the public. Truth is not the popular road to run but you navigate the course very well. Even when you shake it up, TRUTH will always settle on the TOP!
    Noel :-))

    I have been in favor of single payer/public option for years. The industries involved in health care would certainly lose the leverage in politics they all seem to have. And, I am all for making a buck due to the fact I have a small business. Nonetheless, One has to wonder why it took recalling a day's event that witnessed some middle Americans waiting in rain to see health care professionals who took on the responsibility of doing what should be done everywhere, everyday, while dining on a gold rimmed plate en route back to the cause of the problem in a private jet.

    Potter's rhetoric is merely gettin' out while the gettin' is good and covering his own ass. I found it disingenuous and can't help wondering who's paying him now and how much.?

    I feel another bailout coming. Which insurance companies are "too big to fail"? ... and which ones can just "go out of business or be bought up by the potential bailees"?

    As one of the 'bailors', I'm tired of heaving this money-bucket upwards!

    Healthcare (or lack thereof) in the US is one of the most non-productive (yet very profitable) contributing factors to the decline (or future decline) of this potentially progressive Nation. Sick and/or unhealthy citizens cannot sustain this Nation into the future and the next bail-out will be for some other nation to bail out the US!

    The Medicare program is already in place and needs to become available to anyone who desires it. A few tweeks wouldn't hurt, but the playing field would definitely become more level and competition for the healthcare dollar would absolutely ensure better quality of healthcare by the money-grubbers who not only control the industry, but also control the health of this Nation (which is failing at an astronomical rate).

    Mr. President, do your job! Level this playing field and put competition, not profit bloat, back into capitalism. The beneficiaries are priceless and (if we stay healthy) are the ones who can keep you in your current position: Buying the job is one thing, staying there is another; but selling out to this (or any) industry is unforgivable.

    Finally, thanks Mr. Moyer for all you do to enlighten the public. Truth is not the popular road to run but you navigate the course very well. Even when you shake it up, TRUTH will always settle on the TOP!
    Noel :-))

    Leave it up to Mr Moyers and his liberal lackeys and fans to attack another private sector industry. Instead of critiquing Barack Obama's proposed government takeover of the healthcare system, Mr Moyers chooses to go after the insurance companies. His slobbering followers then proceed to attack the evil health insurance companies, and call for their elimination and destruction. When Mr Moyers accuses Rush Limbaugh of "inciting riots in the public mind," he is being the quintessential liberal hypocrite. He himself foments criticism and attacks on our private sector businesses (and our capitalist system as well) while he accuses Limbaugh of the same thing! What a disingenuous attitude. Mr Moyers, you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Thank you for re-airing this show last night and thank you, Mr. Potter, for the information you provided. As someone who lost their health insurance in the 80s and is still unable to get health insurance for my adult disabled kids today (not Cigna either time), even though my kids don't see the doctor more than once or twice a year and take no medication I really appreciated the chance to see the "why" spelled out so clearly. Thank you.

    Louellen Blackstrap,

    Love your scenario!

    What a talented writer; very humourous! Takes some of the tension out of it all.

    Thanks for making my day!

    If everyone FOR health care reform who posted on this blog today did a few simple, key things, we might just manage to remedy the problems with the current system Bill Moyers disused on today.

    1) Call every single US senator and representative and express your support of a single-payer, universal coverage plan (hey start far, far to the left and we might end up getting somewhere on this.) Enthusiastically compliment the congressperson if he or she supports a public option and tell him or her you are stanchly behind them. Call early and call often. Get others to call as well.

    2) Write one letter to the editor of you local paper either telling how the current state of affairs has negatively impacted you or a family member or a friend, or simply stating why you support a robust public option that can effective compete with private insurers to drive competition between insurance companies.

    3) Mention to your family, friends, co-workers, etc. that you support a strong public option.

    Express your desires for what you would like to see in your “wish list” for reform – at this point it is critical to the democratic process during this August “waiting period” while the congress is supposedly expecting public input.

    I do believe your contribution (however small it might seem to you) will make a significant difference!

    Yes, the current way the health insurance industry is run hurts patients.

    The interests of the patient and the health insurance company are at odds with one another. The buyer seeks assurance against crushing medical bills should they have a prolonged illness or recovery from a catastrophic accident, but the seller loses money when either happens to the buyer. So it is in the interest of the seller, if they wish to maximize profit, to refuse to pay for the buyer’s medical bills. This hurts patients who need care for extended periods of time, because, currently, insurance companies can drop patients when the patient is no longer “profitable” i.e. healthy, even if they pay their premiums on time. This state of affairs defeats the main purpose of health insurance. It doesn’t “insure” against vulnerability to financial ruin due to possible, future medical bills.

    If profit is a major motive for health insurance companies, rescission, the refusal to continue a health insurance policy when a buyer is no longer “profitable”, will always be attractive to insurance companies.

    I support a public option, and, frankly, would like to see a single-payer public plan, because I feel it is the most cost effective way to cover all Americans.

    I am not concerned by Wolfe or Randazzo’s objections. They miss the point – if private insurers cannot provide equal coverage compared to a vigorous public plan, they deserve to go out of business. If the government can deliver health care payments to providers at the rate of 3% overhead, but a private insurer has 30% overhead for the same service, of course, private insurers will go out of business. What’s wrong with that? It’s like knowing a better airplane can be built by a company for a lower price than a second company can deliver, and the second company whines – “that new airplane should not exist because it is a perversion of my own personal reality that keeps giving you the old airplane which you just love, don’t you?” And, so, we should not allow the new airplane to be built because the second company whines?

    I agree with the idea that health CARE could not be provided by the government to ALL Americans; we would probably not like to see that scenario anyways, BUT that is NOT what is being proposed.

    People need to realize that health care and payment for health care are two very distinct things. Health care is the “delivery” aspect of the issue (doctor, pharmacy, hospital, etc.) and payment for health care is how the doctor, pharmacy, hospital, etc. would get paid. The government would NOT be involved in providing health care; the government would be involved in collecting insurance premium and dispersing them to providers that deliver the health care. The government can afford to administrate PAYMENT for health care for all Americans, with the 27% of overhead now wasted on things like outrageously high CEO salaries, the workers whose job it is to deny coverage for everything under the sun, etc. Again, the government would not be doing sonograms, MRI’s, delivering your baby, watching over you when you die – it would be paying your current doctors and nursing staff to do all that out of the collective premiums we would all pay to the government.

    I think Wolfe or Randazzo are being disingenuous in their supposed quote of Obama’s. Of course our current government resources could not provide heath CARE to all Americans, but that is not what is being proposed. The argument is a “straw dog”.

    Bill, thanks once again for your investigative reporting. There must be others like Wendell Potter who are willing to confirm for the American public that corporations, of all strips, only understand profits. Profits, profits, profits. The three main issues of 2009 (global warming, health care, financial regulation) are all failing to achieve any significant forward movement. Bill, you know what the problem is! The problem is that the corporations own Congress. I suggest that any more programs on health care, global warming, or financial corruption are a waste time until the source of these problems and corruption is resolved. None of these very difficult problems will be resolved until the problem of corporations owning Congress is resolved. I recognize that getting people to talk about global warming, health care, or financial meltdown is much easier than getting people to come on your show and talk about the real problem. This is not a criticism! It is however an attempt to identify the REAL problem. The real problem is the relationship between corporations/big business and Congress. That relationship is based on money. The American people get it. The blogs are full of rage for Congress for selling out their constituents. I think if the Bill Moyers Journal wants to go to the next layer of muck it should develop programs around corporations and Congress. There is really no sense in talking about Cap & Trade, health care reform, or financial regulation until the underlying problem is resolved. Every discussion on these topics always ends with "well nothing will be done about it because the corporation owns Congress." Bill, if there is anyone who could focus an investigation on Congress it is you.

    Dear Pastor Darrell,

    I just thought I’d write a little note and update you about what’s been going on in Woodburg since you went to Australia. You remember the governor’s health insurance plan for small businesses was just about to come into effect when you left. We were all waiting to see what that would do for us. When we could finally sign up for it we found the cap so small that it wouldn’t cover much if we got really sick. You remember Sister Mayleen and her cancer. Well, Cover Tennessee won’t cover hardly any of her treatments. One morning the boys at the Liar’s Table in the Blue Bird came up with what they’re calling the Jail House Plan, which will be run and administered by the county.

    Joe Frank came up with it when he was telling everyone about his mama and how she was finally taken care of now that she was 65 and on the Medicare. His daughter Janelle was all right ’cause she’s on the Medicaid what with her 8 children and low income. You know she don’t make nothing working as a waitress. But like she says. It keeps her out of trouble and out of the house. Joe Frank was getting tired of working 50 or 60 hours a week at his sawmill, when he could get the work, and still not having enough money to pay an insurance premium. Joe Frank almost slugged Brother Percy at the T-ball field when Percy said anyone who was working could get health insurance. Percy didn’t want his taxes going to lazy people who should just get a job so they could afford the premiums.

    It was shortly after this altercation that Cover Tennessee came out and Joe Frank came up with the Jail House Plan. He figured that besides the poor and the old, the only other group getting affordable heath care were the prisoners over at the county jail. Joe Frank whittled himself up a little gun, painted it black and went into the First Bank and held up his cousin Cora. Cora didn’t believe him at first since she’d seen him whittling up his little gun and had given him the paint herself. But Arnold, the Chief of Police, was at the next window and he told Joe Frank that even pretending to hold up a bank was a crime. Joe Frank told Arnold to go ahead and arrest him, which Arnold did.

    When Joe Frank came up before his second cousin, Judge Bennett, he was told there was no choice. Joe Frank had to go to jail for 20 years. That was fine with Joe Frank ’cause he was 45 now and he’d be ready for Medicare when he got out. There wouldn‘t be any lapse in coverage. You know how crowded the jail is so it wasn’t no trouble for Joe Frank to get work release and get back to the sawmill and put in a garden, too. It worked out so well, in fact, that several more members of his family whittled up wooden guns and held up the First National Bank. Then some more went after Regions Bank. After a while word got out and the banks finally had to put a limit of 100 hold ups per day per bank, ’cause they weren’t getting any banking done.

    Now, being a pastor and all you probably don’t agree with any of this, and I’ve been told Brother Alvin over at the Church of Christ even preached a whole sermon against it. But all that did was let more people in the county know about it. Now the police are busy arresting everybody, the courtroom is full every Tuesday, and the jail is so crowded most don’t even spend one night there before they get work release and go home to their families until they need medial care. The county’s going broke paying for all the hospital and doctor’s bills, so they’re applying to the Federal government for relief. Joe Frank says it’s finally going to be here like it should be everywhere. A body shouldn’t have to chose between eating or going to the doctor.

    Well, got to close now, Pastor Darrell. Buck and I have decided it’s time to join the Jail House Plan. He’s going to rob the First Bank and I’m driving the get away car.

    Your friend in Woodburg,

    Louellen Blackstrap

    It seems to me that the press and "party politics" is taking over this debate and dividing the country. The health care system in this country is currently broken, ineffective, inefficient, insufficient. It's high time we took money out of the political process, so we could get down to what really matters, a government of the people by the people, for the people. It seems to me that big business is running this country. I urge everyone to contribute to the President's plea for funding to push his much needed health care reform through passage. Something has to be done to counter the $40 million given to lobbyists by the pharmaceutical and health insurance industry.

    I am Canadian. As I read all of your comments and postings, I sit here with tears in my eyes, shaking my head in disbelief; that such a great nation 10X the size (population) of mine, is lacking so much in regard to how you treat your fellow citizens and look after the most vulnerable. I find it incredible that Americans have to go to such health fairs in Wyse County (arriving a few days early to wait/hope for medical attention) or contemplate personal bankruptsy for want of basic care following an illness. What is even more incredulous to me is that certain politicians will, with a straight face argue for the maintenance of the existing system!
    I will admit that I have long taken for granted (and even trash-talked) my own Canadian healthcare system, which has some (minor) flaws but is so much more accessible than yours.
    How does it feel to be in a Canadian's shoes? Well *imagine* this: from now on, no matter what age, economic class, gender, religious faith, status of health, race. etc, etc; if you or any family member or fellow citizen has a health issue (whether its relatively minor like a bad case of acne or something way more serious like breast cancer), you can choose your doctor and health facility, and not have to even worry about payment...

    All of your good neighbours to the north of the 49th parallel hope and pray that you figure this out and push for the right decision. From where I stand, your health insurance system looks atrocious.

    Good luck and God Bless America!!

    I have watched the steady decline of the healthcare system for over 60 years as a rgistered nurse, patient, and volunteer. When I entered the system most of the hospitals bore names like St. Agnes, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist or soem county. They struggled, but they met people's needs and gave good care. It might have taken 2 years to pay of a bill at $25 a month, but patients were allowed to do it and, for the most part, met that obligation. Small hospitals cannot and should not compete with large ones. It is discouraging to see so many health practioners seduced by money available to specialists. Finding family doctors and general practioners for rural areas is difficult, if not impossible. I am horrified by concessions made to the drug companies by the proposed Congressional legislation. I guess the adage really is true: We have the best government we can buy. What makes our elected officials any different than officials of third world countries where bribery is a way of life?

    Bill:
    Many if not most insurance companies used to be private "mutual" companies--in effect owned by their customers and not subject to Wall Street pressures. Your "sole corporate sponsor" still is, I think.

    Your Potter interview made it very clear that one problem (among many) is that so-called "health insurance" has been captured (and twisted) by Wall Street during the last 15 years. Why not do a program on this phenomenon? It reaches far beyond just the health industry.

    More than 100 years ago Thorstein Veblen, perhaps our most cogent economic thinker, made the differentiation between "industrialists," who made products, and "businessmen," who made money.

    We need to make the distinction -- again -- between mutual companies, coops, and private companies on the one hand, whose primary goal is their products, and the "to big to fail" conglomerates whose goal is "shareholder value."

    Twenty years ago in the novel "Closing Time" Joseph Heller's Yossarian wondered: "Men made millions producing nothing more substantial than changes in ownership!"

    Yes, I believe that the healthcare industry's pursuit of profit hurts the people it is suppose to be helping. In fact, I know from personal experience that this is true.

    I know how I can help. I am taking that step immediately. I am withdrawing from Blue-Cross/ Blue Shield. They will no longer use my premiums to fight against me by lobbying. I will keep my premium payments, and use that money when I need health care. If I cannot afford care, I will die. That is the way God intended it. God did not intend 'modern' medicine, nor does he approve of it.

    Blue Cross/Blue Shield has non-profit status. What this means, bottom line, is that they don't pay taxes!

    Yes, I am sick. I am sick of participating in this insanity. I am already a casualty in this war. If I die because of my decision to not participate, THAT will make my life more meaningful than staying alive to keep this insanity in place by paying for price protection from the Mafia that calls itself Health Insurance.

    I strongly urge everyone to vote with me, by voting with your dollars and withdrawing from your health insurance plan. Join the army! Be all you can be! Serve your country! Just say no to this corruption! That means putting yourself at risk, and taking the money from those who are already mispending it. Reform is not going to come without a fight. Are you brave enough to fight for your children and grandchildren?

    I pray daily that God will bless Mr. Moyers (and now Mr. Potter as well) for having the courage to speak the truth to the American people. May their words reach far and wide so that the scales may fall from our eyes as a nation and we finally come to see what a misguided and morally corrupt system the health insurance cartel truly is.

    Most Americans could not afford a major medical expense, even with health insurance - they will be bankrupt; and those unfortunate to need long-term medical treatment will end up on the street. If universal healthcare is not a right, then it certainly should be. What else is the purpose of government but to provide for such things? The greatest nation in the world should be able to afford the very best healthcare for all of its citizens; and the fact that millions of Americans have no health insurance is nothing less than a national disgrace. Need must it be so, for the true greatness of a nation, and its moral progress, is not measured by its wealth or power, but by the manner in which it provides for the welfare of its people.

    Makes you so proud to be an American

    One more point to my previous post:

    As evidence of the ignorance of a large portion the American population, I use the Iraq War as exhibit A. It took YEARS for the population to finally understand the false premise of the invasion, and to see the incompetence in the way it was run in the aftermath.

    We can only hope that Americans will realize the stakes and facts of health care reform more quickly than they did the Iraq War.

    Contrary to the saying, "Ignorance is NOT BLISS"...it will be a very destructive force regarding this issue. We will all pay for it for years to come.

    Please-educate everyone you know about the health care reform debate! The country cannot afford failure on this.

    Most Americans could not afford a major medical expense, even with health insurance - they will be bankrupt; and those unfortunate to need long-term medical treatment will end up on the street. If universal healthcare is not a right, then it certainly should be. What else is the purpose of government but to provide for such things? The greatest nation in the world should be able to afford the very best healthcare for all of its citizens; and the fact that millions of Americans have no health insurance is nothing less than a national disgrace. Need must it be so, for the true greatness of a nation, and its moral progress, is not measured by its wealth or power, but by the manner in which it provides for the welfare of its people.

    What if Bill Moyers and Wendell Potter got together and started drafting and forwarding talking points FOR the public option, and sent them to everyone on this blog along with a list of people we should forward them to? I have called my three elected Federal representatives three times now with the same message: Get single-payer on the table for discussion; No co-op; Must have a public option; and, No taxing current health benefits. I am lucky to have a good health plan but I feel compelled to join the fight for my 50 million fellow citizens who do not enjoy this basic right. I will explore the site more, but would appreciate an up front place to find more information on unified action. It is fine to say you want folks to think for themselves, but when facing the millions of lobby dollars of the health-industrial complex, those of us with more shallow pockets have to hope to accomplish some good with more focused social action. How about it Bill? How about a show on specific organizations doing the most good on this and other social action topics? We could use your help on this one...

    I believe that a single payer plan is the best option, but the power of the health insurance and Big Pharma lobbies is so great that the Publc Option is the best compromise.

    Why do I believe this? Leverage. Creation of such an option will expose the blatant shortcomings of the present for-profit 'system'. I believe that once people see the truth they will abandon their private plans in droves. A single payer plan will then become the obvious solution.

    If only more of the population bothered to educate themselves instead of listening to the Congressional mouthpieces of the insurance and Big Pharma lobbies, we could circumvent such a convoluted route to a single payer plan. Unfortunately, too many Americans are ignorant and don't want to think for themselves.

    The real question is, who does Congress represent? Is the American People, or Big Pharma and the health insurance industry? I think it is up to us to force them to answer that question-and make sure everyone in the country knows what each Senator and Representatives answer is!

    Members of Congress who are going to vote against the Health Care Bill should be required to drop their present public supported healthcare plan and pay for their own private health insurance plan.

    Dear Mr. Moyers':
    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
    To Other Readers:
    How can we, the 'people', lobby for Health Care reform with a Public option? By (1) educating each other: forward tonight's program links to friends and family, and (2)
    letting the entrusted decision-makers in Washington who represent we, "the people", know what we, "the people", want, and that we, "the people", are paying attention.

    (I will now resume emailing friends and family to urge them to view this program's archive).

    Doesn't it make sense that health (and all)insurance companies should be under maximum scrutiny by the SEC if they provide public stock options..?
    Why didn't you ask more about these carnivals of health care? How are they financed? Do people bring buckets of money for services or are there rich benefactors? Do doctors donate their time and are they licensed physicians?

    Almost everyone, the President included, uses the terms "health care" and "health insurance" synonymously. They are not the same. Health insurance, in many cases, is an impediment to health care. High premiums and deductibles discourage many who have insurance from pursuing even the most basic care. And the lack of health insurance, for whatever reason, can lock one out of the health care system.

    How did the insurance companies become the gatekeepers for health care in this country?

    I am convinced that the only hope for the average citizen is a single-payer plan based on the Medicare system. Any other plan is a compromise with the devil.

    It is easy to blame large companies such as the pharmaceutical companies for the cost of pharmaceuticals but there is a real reason for the cost of a new drug. For every 100 drug candidates only 2 make it to market. It takes ~ 1 billion dollars to develop, test and start the manufacture a new drug. Those two new drugs need to pay for themselves, all of the failed drug candidates and generate enough money to fund the research for new products. It could be said that we do not need any more new drugs. Without Ebril my daughter would have two choices: 1) be crippled 2) take a drug product that treats her artritis but it also harms her liver. I fall on the side of enbril and other new drugs.

    I am so disturbed by the information that we are learning from Wendell Potter that I cannot even express the level.

    I am one of the fortunate ones who has had access to health care for myself and my family for all of my adult life. I can see how unfortunate others are due to less income or skills/careers that do not have any hope of providing the same level of protection for them.

    We need a national plan and we need to cover all of those American Citizens in need for health care that is complete. Money should not mean the difference between life and death.

    We need to send people to Washington who care more about the people they are representing than they do their own campaign coffers or pockets or levels of influence. Do they have no shame?

    Perhaps the only way is to replace all of those who claim to represent Americans and their best interests with people who really do. Wishful thinking, I know, but someone needs to shame these people into acting for us. How do we allow them to continue to get away with what they do and do not do. As long as we stay silent and keep our heads in the sand this will not end and it will catch up to all of us in the eventually


    I love the honesty of Bill Moyers and his guests and learn so much even if it angers and disappoints me deeply.

    Keep the information coming Bill and keep giving us your honest commentary at the end of each of your Journals.

    The healthcare issue is extremely complex. If it was an easy fix it would have been done by now. The government is not in a position to take over or even provide healthcare to nonissured people. The reason is cost. The government is in debt as it is (two wars, industry bail outs, etc...). I am not in favor of the government starting another program that they cannot afford. IF the government gets its financial house in order then I would be willing to support a more aggressive government program.

    I applaud the efforts of the people who run the free clinic in Viriginia. What they should do is find a building to hold this clinic, rais funds to equip it and run it as a nonprofic free clinic. This is America at its best.

    We should all have the same level of care that the government has. We take care of them and in return they should take care of use. They already provide use with Fire fighters, Police officers, Solders, Food inspectors, OSHA.... The experts say the next pandemic is right around the corner.

    For gods sake nationalize the system before its to late!

    Repeat after me: "Insurance is their to stop you from getting care". It encourages poor health with fear of creating a pre existing condition.

    The poor will aways be with use but at least they should have one thing their health. Lets all take care of each other no matter the cost. The world will be a better place for it.

    Wendell Potter needs to meet with President Obama...fast! Somehow, We The People need to find the money to get this information flooding the media. The only way to get honest health reform is to have informed voters.
    I was disgusted to see that the drug companies have already locked in safety for their drugs by inserting protection from Generics for 11 years! Let me give you an example of what I've already learned by my own case:
    I take Oxycontin at times for severe back problems which cannot be corrected with surgery. My last prescription cost me $188 out of pocket while Blue Shield/Cross paid over $800 for their portion. I was totally shocked because my previous prescription out of pocket cost was $60.00 and was a Generic. When I asked my pharmacist what was going on, he told me that the drug company went to court to and won their case to prevent any Generic for this drug. Oxycontin has been around for a long, long time but the drug company decided it wasn't making enough money because of the Generic. How they won their case in court is beyond me as the limit protecting drugs from a Generic, at this time, is 5 years! Now I learn the drub companies have won an 11 year block.
    We cannot allow the insurance and drug companies to continue to buy off our representatives at such a grave cost to us.
    Citizens! Rise up and make your voices heard! Contact all your representatives and fight for what is right for us, not the drug and insurance companies. It's truly a matter of life and death for us

    Thank goodness for Wendell Potter! I only wish he would sit down with Obama and put truth to the topic. The working poor are so badly off in this country. Critics argue there is no incentive to improve medical care in this country without such huge profits. Not every doctor in this world goes into the practice purely for money and to assume that without landslide profits nothing would ever get done is incredibly ignorant. No one believes that people should work for free, but this is not a service like cable TV that you can simply live without. Everyone here legally should have the right to basic care. The standard of living in the US is not the best in the world, just examine the United Nations report of the best and worst countries to live in. Big surprise, the US is not #1. Norway and Canada are up at the top. We've dropped to #12. We are not the only country in the world and it's high time we realize this. Capitalism solely is not the answer. Socialism solely is not either.

    Scandalous is the action of the lobbyists and members of Congress buying into this crap game.Lives of constituents are at risk while they spin the bottle filled with lies, deceit and dollars for them. It is outrageous! How I hope these truths make the headlines over and over and over again. Thank you Bill Moyers for your constant courage to speak truth to the people.

    Go Naked!!! It's clear that the best politicians money can buy are not even going to attempt to fix the health care problems, although they will put on a good show. I suggest that when health care reform fails to pass, we all cancel our for profit Health Insurance policies. Sound crazy? It's already happening. These policies are increasing worthless, as the companies strive to decrease their client base while raising premiums and denying coverage. Since politicians won't do anything, it's up to the public to bring these companies to their knees by a nationwide boycott.

    Thank you for rebroadcasting the interview with Mr. Potter. The scenario in Washington is playing out just as the health industry planned, and we need to get the info Mr. Potter presents to the nation to see. Shame on the legislators who are parroting the lines the lobbyists have given them.

    Thank you Bill for putting the spotlight on the truth of the health care matter with you guest Wendell Potter. We need this change to take place and the fear campaign from the right needs to be exposed. I worked for a corporation that has changed our medical providers every couple of years and my insurance premiums keep going up. The company I retired from now intends to stop the subsidy for individuals 65 and over next year. I am fortunate that I have not had any serious medical problems but other retirees do. We retirees had a protest against the corporation and now have engaged attorneys to fight this change. Mr. Potters discussion hit home with exactly how corporations and insurance companies work together with Washington.

    Thank you Bill for putting the spotlight on the truth of the health care matter with you guest Wendell Potter. We need this change to take place and the fear campaign from the right needs to be exposed. I worked for a corporation that has changed our medical providers every couple of years and my insurance premiums keep going up. The company I retired from now intends to stop the subsidy for individuals 65 and over next year. I am fortunate that I have not had any serious medical problems but other retirees do. We retirees had a protest against the corporation and now have engaged attorneys to fight this change. Mr. Potters discussion hit home with exactly how corporations and insurance companies work together with Washington.

    It would be great to have this on the evening news. The President needs to talk to Wendall Potter, maybe then something could get done.

    Wendell Potter claims that,

    "I think that people who are strong advocates of our health care system remaining as it is, very much a free market health care system, fail to realize that we're really talking about human beings here, and it doesn't work as well as they would like it to..."

    Our healthcare industry is no free market. What is a free market? A free market refers to a vast network of voluntary exchanges of property titles over goods between consenting parties. Voluntary exchange presupposes the social recognition of the right to liberty, the freedom to act in accordance with one's own judgment, and of the right to private property, the right to control the product of one's labour. In a free market, all associations are voluntary. Government regulation in this context refers to coercion, to physical force, to the use of preliminary compulsion against others who have not similarly use such compulsion. The examples of government compulsion within the healtcare industry are legion. In a free market, there would be no such regulation, only a government to protect against private compulsion such as fraud.

    The idea that the healthcare industry is a free market is a superstition - its nothing short of sloppy epistemology and economics.

    Wellpoint is one of the largest health insurers in the United States. Its CEO, Angela Braly, was paid almost $10 million in 2008. She has gone on record in the past that Wellpoint's first priority is profit, not caring for people.

    Companies do not need to make profits. There are not-for-profit companies.

    Angela Braly and her ilk are free to go and make a profit by some other means than condemning people to suffering and even death all in the name profit.

    We must begin to treat the Bralys of the United States as what they are -- criminals and murderers. If someone proposed actively killing someone for money, it would unambiguously be a crime. Health insurers do this very thing by omission.

    Thank you Bill for putting the spotlight on the truth of the health care matter. We need this change to take place and the fear campaign from the right needs to be exposed.

    Kyle Keenan

    The insurance industry profit model is simply this: Take in as much money from policy holders as possible, pay out as little on the policies as possible, and take the spread in between. The more successfully a company can do this, the greater the compensation for it's executives.
    Did I miss anything?
    (Quiz)What's wrong with that fundamental model? (Senators and Congressman get to answer first.)

    Steve G

    You raised some pertinent points in your analysis of the US character. However you are wide of the mark in infering all the awkward squad up sticks and left Europe for a better life your side of the pond. Some stayed behind and fought for social change here. Most if not all of the social changes in the UK in the last 150 years were brought about by the very same sort of people you describe as your founding fathers. Non Conformist Preachers, Quakers and their like. The system of healthcare you now have is very much like the one we threw out in the UK 60 years ago. An elite got well provided for while the rest of us stuggled. Ok your elite may be the vast majority of your population, the ones who can afford the premiums but it is still an elite non the less. As for our systems being monarchical tell that to a German or a Frenchman. You seem to think these changes came from above as if by some dicktat from a King or Queen. It was the awkward squad still here who brought about these changes.........Tony

    I'm still for a national single-payer plan. Providing insurance for the nation's citizens is all about "promote the general Welfare", the fifth adjuration of We the People to our employees, the gov't. of the United States of America, set out in the Preamble to the Constitution. This is NOT a mercantile matter--as Paul Krugman pointed out in this morning's (July 31, 09) column.

    And the federal government is the only thing keeping the system afloat, even now.

    And Jon Stewart even caught Bill "Kill the Obama Health Plan Like we Killed HillaryKare in 92" Kristol confessing that the members of the military have the best health care system now available in the US--"It costs a little bit more, but it's worth it; we don't pay our soldiers very much, but we make up for it a bit with the best health care in the world." (or words to that effect).

    Stewart asks, "So, what I hear you saying is that the federal government runs the best medical care system in the world?" (add to the VA that there is also Medicare, the single-payer system for geronts over 65.

    As for the health insurance "industry" employees, they can quickly be re-trained to audit the Pentagon for the $2.9 TRILLION that's gone missing, according to Rumsfeld's September 10, 2001 announcement to the Pentagon management structure. Rumsfeld also called the Pentagon management structure "our worst enemy". Seems he was picking up a line from Charlie Brown: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

    Very disappointing there was virtually no public support for the planned demonstration in Washington July 30.

    Americans are apathetic sheep who deserve what they get.

    One method of dealing with this blatant conflict of interest where Corporations and Associations control our Congressman and public officials through campaign contributions, campaign fund raising services, or job offers after leaving the government service is by:

    1. Any Congressman on a committee is barred from accepting directly or indirectly any campaign contributions or campaign fund raising services from any of the industries or associations being regulated by that committee.

    2. High-level public officials that leave government service would be barred from accepting employment directly or indirectly from any industry or industry association that their department regulated.

    3. As a condition of accepting a position on a committee or a high level government job the individual would be required to sign a document agreeing to these limitations.


    As an example of how this would work: Finance and Banking committee members would be barred from receiving any campaign contributions or fund raising services from the banking industry, banking industry associations, or Wall Street. These are companies and associations not voters.

    Directors of the FAA would be barred for three years from accepting employment in the communications industry.


    I am so angry that these people on both sides of the aisle are so busy with their obfuscations, mendacity, and prostituting for their corporate handlers I can scream! First we need to have public financing of elections - that will ensure that "our representative" represent the will of "WE THE PEOPLE"! Then, and only then will these people start listening to US! If the majority does not seem to understand WHY they need to pay attention to WE THE PEOPLE, then maybe they should think about why they were in the minority for so many years! WE need a PUBLIC OPTION that controls costs, pays for drugs, and accept everyone whether they have a "pre-existing" condition or not, and a strong focus on prevention you know we do have a model it's called MEDICARE!

    " When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government."

    The above statement is from the Declaration of Independence, maybe those miscreants on the HILL need to read for understanding!!!

    To Steven G

    Basic question.

    Why should anyone have to have a health savings account to pay health insurance premiums, deductibles , copays or anything else that perpetuates private health insurance?

    The most workable plan, but maybe not the best, is one that encourages competition between group plans and allows all Americans to join those same groups. See website MarketPlaceCare.com

    The only real answer for reform is the Single Payer System.

    Private health insurance companies bring nothing to the table in providing health care to America.

    Their only purpose is to siphon resources for their own benefit and provide campaign funds to corrupt politicians who further their agenda.

    Americans must stop being cowed and lied to and demand a single payer system from their Senators and Represntatives.

    The alternative is the destruction of the Republic in the name of profit and personal gain.

    IT IS OBVIOUS THAT AS LONG AS OUR POLITICIONS GET PAYOFFS THE WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE WILL SUFFER. THE FIRST THING THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE IS HOW OUR REPRESENTATIVES ARE FINANCED. NO MORE BRIBES!

    Hello Steve: Health care SHOULD NOT be like a casino! The insurance salesman tells you to pick from policies called "Slots" "Blackjack" "Craps" and "Poker" - and each has different buy ins, bet limits, and payoffs, plus you can't read the fine print, which has all kinds of deductions and exclusions in case you do "win" (get sick.) You are being asked to "guess" what type of medical treatment you will need, and when! The rules can change along the way, because the government is in on the "fix". Actually, I ought to apologize to the gaming industry. Casinos are well-run businesses. Would you patronize a casino run by the insurance industry and our government? I think not.

    To Tony G,

    “I am at a loss as to why America, the richest country in the World, cannot come up with a universal heathcare system? Why is there so much opposition to it?”-Tony

    The reasons why the U.S. can’t do it like the rest of the world are the same reasons why the U.S. is the richest country in the world. The universal healthcare systems that exist in the rest of the world operate like monarchies and the people who founded the U.S. tossed out monarchy-based governmental systems.

    Yanks and Brits are two very different species. Something that people from around the planet don’t seem to understand is why Americans are so different from the rest of the planet on the universal healthcare thing. It’s because of our history.

    Here’s the short version:

    After Columbus bumped into North America by accident but before there was a U.S., lots of Britain’s and Europe’s rule-evading, non-conforming troublemakers came to North America to get away from how things were in the old country. Some came willingly, some were dumped here. After generations the troublemakers of the New World rebelled; they committed treason and tossed out their old government. After they won the ensuing civil war they named that war the Revolutionary War and did the usual thing for rule-evading, non-conforming troublemakers. They started a nation that didn’t conform to the usual way of governing. Then the rule-evading, non-conforming troublemakers from across the globe started coming to the U.S. in droves to get away from their homelands, where they didn’t really fit in.

    After generations of this came the modern world and lots of nations instituted universal healthcare systems. The citizens of those nations then looked at the U.S. and said, “We don’t get it. Why can’t you just do what we did? None of our citizens seem to have a problem with universal healthcare? We here in the U.K. all agree that it’s a good idea, we all conform to one view. We have looked all over the U.K. and we can’t find many Brits that disagree with our healthcare system. The same is true for the Germans and the Japanese. How come you Americans can’t do what we did?”

    You Brits can’t find many people in your country that think your healthcare system is a bad idea because those people left your country, some long before you instituted your system. The same is true for the other nations of the world. You people can institute your healthcare systems because most or all of your rule-evading, non-conforming troublemakers left your countries. Those troublemakers came here to the United States of America to get away from you people, your rules and your way of doing things.

    The opponents to universal healthcare systems have been coming to the United States for generations; coming here long before any of those systems were conceived of or adopted by the rest of the world.

    Bo,

    “Businesses are required to provide insurance for employees - how crazy is that?”-Bo Moore

    If we want to control healthcare costs we have to try to get businesses out of providing health insurance. With businesses involved it adds more cost and inflation into the system. And requiring businesses to provide health insurance to their employees is just a way for government to mandate insurance for all without the government having to pay for it. It’s a sneaky way to declare healthcare to be a right (which it isn’t), declare that government must therefore provide healthcare to all, and then dump the cost and responsibility on to businesses.

    The irony of it is that businesses have used health insurance as a way to grow, attract employees and give employees tax-free benefits. Now it’s killing a lot of businesses and a government mandate will just make it more attractive for businesses to outsource more jobs beyond our borders. So in the end there could be fewer people insured through their employer because there could be fewer employers and jobs.

    “Insurance ought to be reserved for high risk medical needs.” –Bo

    I think that I understand your point but there is a problem with mandating it. The insurance part of the healthcare problem is a lot like a casino and the people need to be able to place their bets in lots of different ways. People need to be able to win, something they can’t really do now, but they also need to be able to lose. There is a balancing act involved; there is profit, loss and risk for the casino and the individual gamblers. Right now the game is rigged against the individual gamblers but if we take things too far in the opposite direction and individuals can’t lose, then the incentives that are based on preventing individual loss are gone.

    Hello Steve: Insurance is a mathematical system for optimizing profit against risk, just like gaming in a casino. Insurers take in lots of money on low-risk bets; health insurers rig their outlay - dictating what they will pay and/or negotiating with providers. The person who pays $$$ premiums, but only gets a few hundred dollars here and there off their bill, is paying for the overuse of technology, hospital profits, paperwork, accountants, lobbyists, tax consultants, lawyers, parties, conventions, etc. None of these costs have anything to do with healthcare. Insurance ought to be reserved for high risk medical needs.
    Businesses are required to provide insurance for employees - how crazy is that? How many more people could they hire or improvements be made in their products, if they weren't burdened with insurance?

    There is a movement underway to declare Sunday, August 16, 2009 through Sunday, August 23, 2009 "Single Payer Health Plan Week" in the U.S.

    August 16th has been designated "Single Payer Education Day" where events (forums, lectures, group discussions, panels, films, etc.) focused around gaining full understanding of what an effective Single Payer Health Plan entails will be conducted at the locally organized level. Plans in operation in other countries should be reviewed for how they are financed, how they function effectively, what services they do and do not provide, and what challenges they present.

    August 23rd has been selected as "Single Payer Support Day" where people will gather in local, citywide, statewide, countywide, and nationally organized events to show support for adoption of a Single Payer Plan. The week in between should be used to communicate with our representatives in Washington and at their local offices (via email, snail mail, phone calls, IM, etc.) to tell them we DON'T WANT COMPROMISE, WE WANT CHANGE.

    This is a grassroots effort. Our future, both medically and financially, depends on you speaking up. So get busy, get the word out on the dates, set up your events, and let our voices be heard that the Medical Economic Complex is not in charge. We the people of the United States are in charge and WE WANT REAL HEALTH CARE REFORM AND WE WANT IT NOW.

    I am at a loss as to why America, the richest country in the World, cannot come up with a universal heathcare system? Why is there so much opposition to it? I live in the UK and I do get angry when I see the outright lies said about the UK NHS by American Neo Con commentators. If the UK system is so bad why is it we Brits have a greater life expectancy than the citzens of the USA? It all can't be down to our gun laws. Before you dismiss me as a simpleton let me give you some insight into my background. I am a cancer sufferer. NHL lymphoma. I am a regular contributor to a US based message board site. LLS. This is where I found the link to this blog. I receive exactly the same treatments and medication as fellow NHL patients in the US. The big difference is that all my treatment is free. The Oncologist will never say to me your insurance is maxed out so sorry no more treatment, as has happened to some American folks I have known over the years.
    We can argue over UK burocratic government interference in the UK NHS, not true by the way, to the state of UK hospitals, currently undergoing a massive £10 billion ($17 billion) upgrade program. If poor old Britain can do it then surely so can you.

    Yes to both questions. Perhaps I'm naive, but I believe that a government-sponsored health care plan would keep a check on the health insurance industry that overcharges and makes huge profits at public expense. Perhaps this would be the best of both worlds, if that is possible at this point in time in this country.

    Sign this petition for single payer http://bit.ly/HR676


    Hello Bo,

    Here is another possible start to a strategic plan.

    1. Each person gets to put a calculated amount of money into a medical/retirement savings account (let’s use $7,000 as an example, more on this in 5). The money put in and any interest gained should be free from tax.

    2. Unless you are retired, any withdrawals must be used for healthcare expenses or health insurance premiums.

    3. The person doesn’t have to spend the total; it carries over year to year. The money is considered to be the property of the person and could be treated just like any other part of his/her estate and it could be inherited.

    4. Health insurance would not be mandated, but for those who choose to be insured, every year, each person would get to choose a maximum annual out-of pocket/deductible on his or her health insurance policy from a required set of possible deductibles (insurers would be required to give people a number of options let’s say $1,000, $2,000, $4,000, $6,000 or $8,000).

    5. The calculated amount each person is allowed to deposit annually into a medical/retirement account is based on the average health insurance cost plus the average out-of pocket expense plus a fixed amount (if the average insurance cost is $4,500, the average out-of pocket is $1,000 and the fixed amount is set at $1,500 then the total calculated amount is $7,000).

    6. Our healthcare system should be set up in a way that minimizes the interference in the doctor/patient decision-making process. (this one is more like a goal for the plan than it is a part of the plan.)

    Notes:
    a. It can be argued that it is unconstitutional to tax healthcare dollars spent on medical care. Any proposed plan would be required to make healthcare dollars tax-free.

    b. It is unconstitutional for the government to mandate health insurance coverage. People should be able to buy insurance but they cannot be forced by law to buy it. In any plan containing mandated insurance coverage, people need to include the plan for how on earth they are going to amend the Constitution to make mandatory insurance possible within our system of government.

    c. Problem solving involves questioning assumptions in a search for cause and truth. But most people let their political ideology blind them when it comes to solving the problems we face as a nation. For them, problem solving is simple; it starts and ends with their political ideology; no thinking required. That makes it easier to find the flaws in their “solutions”.

    So does this seem acceptable to you, Bo (or anybody else)?

    What would you add or change and why?

    jeffers

    You are wrong about who set up the UK NHS. It was set up in 1948 by Clement Atlee a socialist Prime Minister. Winston Churchill was vehemently opposed to any form of NHS. It is often thought of as being very ungrateful when Churchill was dropped as P.M. by the British people before the war finally ended. The truth is the British did not want to go back to how it was before the war. When Churchill regained power in 1952 even he realised to scrap the NHS would have been a retrograde step and a mistake. The UK population is primarily a conservative one. The NHS is often looked at by overseas commentators as a Socialist idea with the subtext of Socialism equaling Communism. Far from it, it is a social idea of benefit to society, all society, whatever your political affiliations. Margaret Thatcher, is not a person who anyone could call a Socialist. Even she dared not to try to take this fundimental right from the British people.

    Everyone in America should see this interview immediately. It should go viral! Undeniably clear testimony from a first-hand witness. And "Sicko" should be re-released in theaters! People need to hear the cold hard facts. No time anymore to live in denial. Thanks Bill Moyers. I downloaded the pdf documents too. Very upsetting.

    How much room is there in the pocket of the health insurance industry? Apparently, enough to build a house and a senate.

    When in the course of national events, it becomes necessary for our people to rebuke our government for allowing businesses to deprive the people of their powers and their rights, a decent respect to past, present and future generations requires that the people should declare the causes which impel them to reprimand their government.

    We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men and Women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness –That to secure these Rights our Government was instituted, deriving its just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.

    Whenever any form of business entity becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people and the duty of our government to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new business entity, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its business practices in such form, as to the people and our government shall seem most likely to effect the safety and happiness of the people. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that businesses and practices long established should not be changed for light and transient causes, but when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design so contrary to the founding principles of our nation, it is the Right of the People, it is the Duty of the People, it is the Duty of our Government, to throw off such businesses and practices, and to provide new guards for our future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the people; and such is now the necessity which constrains us to alter our systems of health insurance. The history of health insurance companies is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

    They have obstructed or delayed the timely administration of medical care causing undue pain, suffering, and the loss of Life, the most precious of our unalienable Rights.

    They have erected bureaucracies that produce a multitude of paperwork so that They can delay or prevent medical treatment and thus increase Their financial gain.

    They have interfered with the physician/patient relationship; caused changes to be made in prescriptions and prescribed treatment plans without They, or Their agents, having ever examined the patient, and without regard to the medical benefit for the patient, and They have made Their decisions based solely on Their selfish interests to reduce cost and increase profit.

    They have virtually enslaved our medical providers to Their will, forcing our providers to join Their insurance networks and accept Their limited reimbursements or take lesser payments as out-of-network providers.

    They have declared by way of Their instituted bureaucracies that the medical licenses issued by our government are not of sufficient validity for medical practice. Providers who are forced to join Their insurance networks must then bend to Their greater authority, and meet Their standards for medical practice; standards that have been set for the purpose of increasing Their profits; standards that disregard our government’s authority to set the qualifications required for medical practice.

    They have erected a quasi-government within our borders with the power to rule over the people, and have granted Themselves the sole power to mandate agreements, create and enforce rules, approve or deny medical treatments, raise premiums and reduce, delay or eliminate payments whenever it is to Their benefit, and in so doing, They have placed the health, the liberties and the lives of the people as captives to Their profit.

    They have suspended or ignored our laws and replaced them with Their rules, and by Their actions have declared Themselves to be independent of and superior to the Constitutional power of our government.

    In these and in other ways these Insurers have declared Themselves to be unfit businesses for a nation built upon our founding principles and our government is duty-bound to put an end to Their tyrannical rule.

    In the past, repeated petitions by the people have been answered by the unconstitutional inaction of our government and repeated injury by the Insurers. Now that matters have become dire enough to spur our government into dealing with this unacceptable situation, it would be wise for the people and our government to review any proposed remedies and compare such remedies to the founding principles of our nation. For we must ensure that any remedies being considered by our government do not give the scoundrels even more power to rule over the people, or further compound the injuries to the rights of the people, or replace old injuries with new injuries, or replace old scoundrels with new scoundrels.

    It is known that there are those whose religious beliefs prevent them from seeking medical treatment or participating in our healthcare system. It is also known that the First Amendment to our Constitution protects the free exercise of religion. And so, any law that mandates that all citizens must purchase health insurance through some public or private entity violates the Constitution unless that law contains an exemption for some religions. But that very same Amendment prohibits our government from instituting any religious test that places one religion over another, or that in any way measures the strength of the covenant between any individual and his or her God. And since all religions must be given equal treatment then any member of any religion must be given the same exemption from the mandate, making the mandate pointless. In addition, any law that would require an individual to establish and maintain a private business relationship as a requirement of citizenship would violate that individual’s right to choose who they associate with, and violate other rights, and alter the standards set for citizenship. And so, any such law that mandates that all individuals purchase health insurance coverage would be unconstitutional as well as pointless.

    Life being among our unalienable rights also puts restrictions on our government’s resolution of these matters. Life is an essential requirement for Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, and any government interference on Life has effects on all three unalienable rights. Maintaining Life can involve medical care for the treatment and prevention of illness and disease. And since our medical providers are in no way considered to be our slaves, the providers must be compensated; paid for the care given. If the government in any way reduces the ability to make those payments for the medical care given, then the government is reducing the medical care; reducing the maintenance required for Life and reducing the unalienable right of Life.

    No part of our government has been granted the power to reduce an unalienable right of the people. Money spent to preserve and maintain Life is protected from any governmental reduction. Any tax on the dollars spent for healthcare reduces the care and reduces a fundamental unalienable right. And so no part of our government has the Constitutional power to collect any tax on the dollars spent on healthcare.

    It should be clear that our government is Constitutionally required to move with all deliberate care and speed in reforming our health insurance system in a way that is consistent with the founding principles of our nation. The government MUST eliminate the destructive unconstitutional practices of the insurers. But in the process, the government is prohibited from mandating insurance coverage and the government must move to eliminate all tax on any income used for healthcare.

    You, the reader of these words, may see things differently but in the end, any solution to the healthcare problem will have to pass the Constitutional/founding principles test. So think about sending these words on to others or to the government, or consider coming up with a better version and sending that on to others or to the government.

    A revolutionary blast from the past could be just what the doctor ordered.

    Here again is my suggestion: A fundamendal change in STRATEGY; the current insane mess can't be fixed. Healthcare is local and depends on the Doctor-Patient partnership. Government ought to stay out of healthcare, but support a FAIR economic solution that lowers costs.

    What is missing is a strategic plan to reduce healthcare costs so that everyone can afford healthcare.

    1. NO INSURANCE for "everyday" healthcare, instead, each adult gets $2000/yr (just a number); kids $1000. each, to be kept in a savings account.

    2. This must be spent on healthcare, but the individual can spend it where it is needed: general care, dental, eyecare, preventative medicine.

    3. The individual doesn't have to spend the total, it carries over year to year.

    4. Doctors can compete for clients - offer a package deal for the year, etc.

    5. The individual and doctor can decide together how the money can best be spent.

    6. Medical costs drop because there are NO FORMS, paperwork, etc. The doctor gets paid CASH.

    7. A young person can accumulate a large savings account by the time they reach retirement.

    8. It also "makes" people save money, addressing the low savings rate.

    9 Insurance is provided for major medical ONLY. Private plans - okay, a government plan for those who cannot afford or qualify for a private plan.

    Posted by: bo moore | July 15, 2009 6:44 PM

    You’re being eaten alive by wolves, and you spy your escape over a high wall.

    Do you,
    1) give it all you’ve got and get over the wall to save your life, or
    2) climb only part way up the wall, figuring you’ll eventually get the rest of the way there. Never mind the wolves. Or gravity.

    Analogy choice #1 is single payer.
    Analogy choice #2 is the public option.

    Guess who the wolves are.

    You’re being eaten alive by wolves, and you spy your escape over a high wall.

    Do you,
    1) give it all you’ve got and get over the wall to save your life, or
    2) climb only part way up the wall, figuring you’ll eventually get the rest of the way there. Never mind the wolves. Or gravity.

    Analogy choice #1 is single payer.
    Analogy choice #2 is the public option.

    Guess who the wolves are.

    Americans think:

    healthcare would not be sustainable on the "Single Payer System".. Go ask the rest of the world how they sukstain it.

    To Gayle Smdt:

    You sound just like me. I don't think you are American. Good for you.

    PLEASE.. can we find some way to start a national petition on line for a single pay health care?

    Sign this petition for single payer http://bit.ly/HR676

    Dear Bill,
    After watching likely more then half of the show... I must respond... First of all how fabulous to see a female physician (Harvard or not) responding to a medical issue. Currently, most graduating female physicians make up greater then 50% of their class. All of the opinions expressed by both commentators would be supported by the overwhelming majority of primary care providers. I am a huge Obama fan but I must admit I am entirely lost over the RUSH to put together a single response, if you will, to the health care crisis. How in the world could anyone, much less anyone not in the field think that a single "response" to the health care crisis would even begin to work? I am truly amazed at how such a thoughtful man, can even consider such a simplistic response. That this might be a political strategy as suggested by your guest, is even more frightening.

    Rather then go on and likely repeat what likely many have said... My suggestion to President Barack Obama and his team is included in the following response. Your commentators mixed no words tonight, it is simply morally and ethically wrong to assume such an incredible profit (as all private insurance companies do) based simply on the fact that to be human, is to often become ill and ultimately die. That this should be some sort of enormous profit for a few is simply wrong. President Obama should attack this enormous, convoluted, tortuous task by providing every human being in America with the most affordable, evidence based care, as is humanly possible. That would be the goal. The first order of business should simply be eliminating "pre-existing" conditions. Sound too simple, too small, or too marginal, in its impact? Think again how many people simply go without because of this one fact? How many people who could be even greater contributing Americans are not, because of this? How complicated would this mere issue be to write, implement and most importantly enforce? This alone would put the profit making insurance companies and their actuaries on notice; spread risk as it is meant to be in health care “across the board” and ensure one of the most fundamental rights to health care is actually enforced. When this is done, if done truly and fully many of the other issues which must be marginally addressed in President Obama’s response, would in my mind already be solved in the process.
    Most importantly the insurance companies that literally are dictating medicine would be put on notice in such a way that all parties in this incredibly intricate maze of medical care would have a level playing field, and from there, the rest. Other then President Obama's insistence of technology driving the savings the most fundamental part of this being the EMR, I am afraid he falls, so short I am rethinking "YES WE CAN". And with all due respect, to start in Chicago at the AMA where every practicing physician I know feels bureaucracy lives and not much else, I just don't get it. Is this how the community based activist we have been introduced to, started? How could it be?
    I am a doctorally prepared nurse practitioner and have worked in the following settings providing me with a perspective few have had the privilege to experience: worked in a free clinic, Rush University Internal Medicine in Chicago, private practice, a nursing home and now as the director of a public university student health center, where some have enrolled literally for access to health care. I have had the pleasure of working with many talented nurse practioners and physicians, many I fear feel as defeated as I do. And yes ANA, it is great that we have been invited to D.C. to voice our collective opinions, it is just too bad the ANA is not where Mr. Obama started! This is NOT a do it now, go back and make changes later kind of issue. Time is not the essence, substance and evidence based practice is the solution.

    Since in all actuality, nurse practitioners will become more and more a vital force in the answer for primary care medicine, among specialties in medicine, may I respectfully suggest your next interview on this matter include some of us?

    With Kind regards for your as usual, insightful guests,
    Maureen Panares APN DNP
    Advance Practice Nurse
    Doctor of Nursing Practice

    Can we please call it what it is? Medi-Business!!

    Bill Haase said, "Last I looked Canada has contributed nothing to advances in medical care."

    Bill, guess you are not diabetic and haven't heard of insulin! For a much longer list, see:

    http://www.canadianmedicinenews.com/2007/11/canadas-greatest-medical-research.html

    Canada has one of the longest life expectancies in the world...Among OECD countries it ranks in the top 10. The US ranks near the bottom. Medical outcomes in Canada are generally equal to, or better than, medical outcomes in the US.

    Hello Bo Moore,

    For years, people have used the word “healthcare” when they should really be using the words “health insurance” or “money”. I heard the President do it a lot during Wednesday night’s press conference. It’s a bit odd, people do a similar thing with a lot of different words, but that’s what people do, so I’ve learned to translate. Here are some of the translations from “health-speak” to English.

    Healthcare – health insurance.

    Paperwork – money wasted on bureaucracy

    Access to healthcare – access to money to pay for healthcare, or access to health insurance, or access to money to pay for health insurance.

    Loss of health insurance – loss of access to money to pay for healthcare.

    Denied healthcare – money denied by an insurer to pay for healthcare, or not enough money to pay for healthcare.

    “This mess is symptomatic of a serious cultural deficit that we don't admit to: People are not valued. Money is the highest good.” –Bo Moore

    Money winds up being the central theme of it all because, in spite of all the hype, America’s healthcare problem is a simple money problem. How do we get some guy a flu shot or an operation without the guy or the nation going broke?

    In all of the horror stories, there is a dollar amount that would have fixed or prevented the problem. For a few, that dollar amount is more than a million dollars, but for most it’s less than one million. For some, it would take half a million, for a greater number of people it would take a lot less than that. There is an average dollar amount spent per person, an average dollar amount collected in premiums, an average dollar amount paid out by insurers. The problem is a money problem that involves personal finance and behavioral economics.

    “We have an intellectual problem: we are supernaturally-minded people and cannot define real problems, let alone real solutions.” -Bo

    People have been given a financial problem to solve and they have brought in all sorts of medical experts to solve it. It happens every time the nation tries to solve this problem; the nation assembles the wrong team of experts because people haven’t properly defined the problem. Years ago, somebody named it the “healthcare” problem and whenever we go to solve it we gather a bunch of healthcare experts together to solve it. (experts from the same groups that are involved in the problem; government, insurers, providers, etc.)

    It could be worse, I suppose. Somebody could have named it the “elephant in the sickroom” problem.

    And then the nation would assemble a team of elephant experts and interior decorators to solve the problem.

    President Obama is absolutely right with his health care reform agenda.

    If we allow the private sector to continue its monopoly on health insurance and their continued cash flow control over the physicians and hospitals, we are in store for a financial and health care delivery tsunami.

    The Health Insurer/HMO Industries have no shame when one health insurer can report -- $859 Million Quarterly (Record) Profit In The Middle of a Recession With Health Insurance Premiums Going Up while there are 47 MILLION Uninsured Americans.

    We need health care financing reform and we need it NOW.

    I am a psychologist who has been doing my own billing for over 30 years, so I have some insight into how the insurance industry works. I recently turned 65, and have learned more about Medicare as a recipient who had to decide on a supplemental policy.

    Today I heard one Republican saying on public radio that he fears a public option because the government will be able to negotiate lower fees with doctors, and thus there won't be a level playing field.

    The facts are these: since the advent of "Managed Care" in the mid-90s, health insurance companies have "negotiated" our fees....this is how they do it: They set the fees, and if we want to join their network, we have to accept those fees. If we don't join their network, then they typically have high deductibles for the patient, we don't have the convenience of being able to log into their websites for info, they pay a lesser percentage for our services, thus costing the patient even more beyond the high deductible, and many of then send the checks to the patient instead of us, which the patient might or might not send on to us. Obviously, the patients will go to providers in network, rather than pay the high deductible and higher percentage.

    In other words, we are manipulated with all kinds of things to get into their networks. If we don't, our business suffers. If we do, we have to accept lower fees.

    Psychologists' incomes dropped 30% with the advent of Managed Care. Although the cost of health care has doubled in ten years, it is not because provider fees have doubled. If anything, they have stayed the same or been further reduced. THe higher costs are from other sources: drug costs, hospital costs perhaps, and administrative costs from the insurance companies themselves (not to mention, their profit margins). One company paid us $90 a hour the first year of Managed Care, $80 the next year, $70 the next year, and hasn't given us a raise in 14 years (mind you, we don't get that for 40 hours a week, and out of that we have to pay overhead, health insurance if we can afford it, sick time, vacations, etc. We don't have someone providing those bennies....). Meanwhile, they raised their CEO's salary from something reasonable a year to $30,000,000, in just a couple of years.

    Here are how the insurance fees vs. the Medicare and Medicaid fees break down:

    Medicare allows $96 an hour in our region for 45-50 minute session. blue Cross and Blue Shield allow about $98. Aetna allows $96. United Health Care allows $70. Many companies are sending contracts for $65 and $55. I send them back and tell them I'm not going to be paid less than the usual and customary fee of 25 years ago. I still have to pay the auto mechanic, the grocer, the computer technician, the plumber, the electrician, the attorney, my homeowners ins, my malpractice insurance, auto insurance, my office rent, all of which have gone up over the years while my income has gone down. for this I went to school until I was 40.

    Providers are not the thieves of the system. Where the public system would save money is that it would not have to pay millions for lobbying congress, more millions for compaign contributions, more millions for TV ads, more millions for outrageous CEO salaries.

    Incidentally, although social security does pay for Medicare, it comes out of our checks. WE PAY FOR OUR MEDICARE POLICY. If your social security benefits are $1300 a month, then you get $1204 and $96 goes to Medicare. And then we also pay for a supplemental policy. Altogether, I pay almost $200 a month for my health insurance under Medicare. That's about what I paid before I got cancer. After I got cancer, my health insurance company wanted $650 a month from me. I couldn't afford it. So for years, I had no blood tests, no nothing. I lucked out and survived.

    There are some very simple efficiencies that Medicare uses that could benefit the private sector and save everyone tons of administrative time and nonsense:

    1. There are a certain number of policies, each with a letter code. Every company sells the same types of policies with exactly the same coverage, so instead of the provider having to call up every single company for every single patient to find out what their coverage and copay is, all we have to do is look at the letter code and we know exactly what will by paid by whom. That saves many, many hours of administrative time.

    2. After Medicare pays, they automatically send the bill on to the supplemental policy, and the provider does not have to send a second bill. This saves tons of time. With all other companies, the provider has to wait until they get paid by the first insurance company, then they have to copy the Explanation of Benefits and SEND A PAPER CLAIM instead of an electronic claim, to the secondary insurance. and wait again for several weeks to get paid. It's cumbersome, complicated, and a pain in the neck.

    I applaud Medicare. And thank God for it, both as a recipient, and as a provider.

    I believe that if we had a public option, health insurance companies would have to pare down CEO salaries, they would have to reduce administrative nonsense, they would have to start paying claims without all kinds of obstacles, and streamline benefits and billing. This would make everybody a lot happier.

    There is a reason most providers would prefer a single payor system. In fact, there are dozens of reasons.

    P. Olsen

    - America's health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.

    Walter Cronkite

    Here's the latest update from the Great State of Tennessee.

    The State of Tennessee has hired a private company, Secova, to “audit” dependent insurance coverage for all state employees, including higher education staff and faculty.

    From the Secova website:

    "Secova is an HR and Benefits Management Services Company focused on helping employers control and drive down the cost of delivering Human Resources and Employee Benefit services. On an annual basis, Secova processes more than 80 million eligibility records, almost $1 billion in healthcare premiums, and manages over 450 vendor and carrier relationships annually on behalf of its clients."

    Secova Board of Directors

    Venkat Tadanki
    Chief Executive Officer

    V. Chandrasekaran
    Chief Technology Officer

    Rahul Bhasin
    Baring Private Equity Partners India (BPEP India)

    Akhil Awasthi
    BPEP India

    S.M. Sundaram
    BPEP India

    P. Viswanathan

    To Jeffet or is that your name.

    you havn't answered me, I am beginning to doubt your intentions. So-called Bloggers do answer comments in all columns in all TV stations just to vent. Are you one of them?.

    Hello Anna - if you are serious, go ahead. Send it to anyone you wish!

    It's good to see this discussion continue, but none of the talk in Washington and elsewhere is about health care. Insurance is not HC. A piece of crazy legislation is not HC. Personal prejudices and beliefs are not HC. We have an intellectual problem: we are supernaturally-minded people and cannot define real problems, let alone real solutions. Supernatural ideas do not correspond to the real world; health care is not a system, a philosophy, a political game, a tax scheme, a chance to force one's prejudices onto fellow citizens. Health care is about BODIES: real physical bodies that need maintenance, repair, and medical intervention if damaged or diseased. Tell this to people in Washington and they do not know what you are talking about. This mess is symptomatic of a serious cultural deficit that we don't admit to: People are not valued. Money is the highest good.

    Posted by: bo moore

    This is a genius summation, Bo - thank you for "sharing" :-))

    Can we circulate this as a petition to sign and to send to all the confused politicians in D.C. (they seem to be the "children" that were left behind)...?

    It's good to see this discussion continue, but none of the talk in Washington and elsewhere is about health care. Insurance is not HC. A piece of crazy legislation is not HC. Personal prejudices and beliefs are not HC. We have an intellectual problem: we are supernaturally-minded people and cannot define real problems, let alone real solutions. Supernatural ideas do not correspond to the real world; health care is not a system, a philosophy, a political game, a tax scheme, a chance to force one's prejudices onto fellow citizens. Health care is about BODIES: real physical bodies that need maintenance, repair, and medical intervention if damaged or diseased. Tell this to people in Washington and they do not know what you are talking about. This mess is symptomatic of a serious cultural deficit that we don't admit to: People are not valued. Money is the highest good.

    “Surely, profit making companies have no place in providing what is a life preserving service. Is it conscionable to have people making money off the sick and ailing?” –George Dyson

    George,

    The United States and Canada have different histories and different value systems. Your Canadian viewpoint fits well in you country, and would fit well in many other countries, but you viewpoint conflicts with some of the most important fundamentals in the U.S. system. The people who founded the U.S. tossed out a lot of the old world viewpoints that are still retained in much of the world.

    Something to keep in mind during this healthcare debate is that the U.S. is not only a major contributor to the medical advances made in the world, it ranks as the highest contributor. It achieved that ranking by allowing people to make a profit in providing life saving services and make money off of the sick and ailing.

    The world would get far more benefit from the U.S. retaining it’s profit motivation than it would get from the U.S. switching to a more European value system. Being able to make a profit isn’t the problem with the U.S. system; that is one of the pluses of the U.S. system. The problem is that people have been allowed to make a profit in ways that conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

    Some people see Capitalism as the problem and Socialism as the solution.

    Unconstitutional capitalism is the problem and unconstitutional socialism won’t solve it

    During the 70's, it was disclosed to me that medical schools were culling out would-be medical students who said they wanted to become doctors to help people or for any other high-sounding reason. The excuse given? Those people burn themselves out too soon. So, the applicants who gave as reasons to become a doctor more practical ones, such as prestige, money, professional privileges, or power, were those admitted to med. school.
    So far as I know, there was no consideration of instead arming the caring student against exhausting him/herself by incorporating a unit or more into the curriculum on managing personal resources: meeting the need for and methods of measuring out time, effort, and emotional resources, including surviving other people's tragedies, in order to remain an effective healer.
    I am sure that some caring doctors had achieved these difficult but essential understandings and could have passed on their secrets of adjustment if given the opportunity. In this way we could have now had caring doctors instead of being captive to those who worship lower values and charge much more for fewer services.
    I don't know what's going on in admissions now: I'm sort of afraid to find out.
    Sincerely,
    Loy Nunn

    Do I still pay 18% of employee pay for workmans comp with the public option? How many times will government hit the small businessman before the well runs dry? Last I looked Canada has contributed nothing to advances in medical care. We could treat broken arms with the invention of plaster paris.

    It was refreshing to hear someone from the private health care industry admit that they are in the business for one reason - $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. My husband and I are both on Medicare and have been for almost a decade and are very happy with our public care!

    Though born in Boston and raised in LA, I have lived in Canada since 1970 and am a Canadian citizen. I want to share my view of our not perfect but really quite good Canadian health care.

    First, the cost (not including the taxes we pay): I live in British Columbia. My husband and I pay $96/month to the BC Medical Plan. A family of 3 or more would pay $108/month. Family income of $28000 or less gets you premium assistance and, if you make less than $20000, you pay nothing. Emergency premium assistance is available.

    What do we get for this: first, and I know this is important to Americans, is the doctor of our choice. If we need a specialist, our doctor recommends some for us to choose from. No HMO tells us what procedures we can have or not have - that is between us and our doctors.

    Waiting times: much ink has been spilled in the US and Canada by HMO's and their backers about the horrid waiting times for treatment in Canada. Well, sorry, it is not my experience. Here is an example: I discovered post-menopausal bleeding and phoned my doctor the next day. By the end of the week, I had an appointment (could have had it next day if I had wanted). Within a week of the discovery, I had had an ultrasound. Within 6 weeks, I had an appointment with the gynecologist (would have been sooner had the ultrasound showed anything worrisome). Saw the gyn and had a thorough examination, during which he removed a tiny polyp and taken some lab tests. Had a D&C 3 months later (could have been immediate had anything worrisome turned up in the lab test results...also could have been a month sooner if I had opted to use a different surgeon) - 4 months, start to finish; excellent state-of-the-art treatment and all of it 100% covered by BC Medical Plan.
    Example 2: my 92-year-old mother, who came to Canada at the age of 85, had difficulty breathing. The care home she was in called the ambulance to take her to hospital (10PM). By 10:30, she was in Emergency being processed. Because there was a chance this was a heart attack, she was whisked away for several tests. By 1 PM she was stable and it had been determined that it was not a heart attack but pneumonia. The next morning she was shifted to the Geriatric ward, where she got excellent care for several days until she could go home again. All this was covered 100% by BC Medical Plan.

    I could give lots more examples, but they are much the same - excellent, up-to-date treatment; speed of care tailored to the seriousness of the illness; no worries about whether I can afford to change jobs, lose my job, see the doctor, or whether the HMO will turf me out for being too sick for them.

    Our system is not perfect but I would take it any day over the bloated bureaucratic nightmare that US medical care has become for the majority of Americans.

    As a Canadian I watch this debate from outside. Yes, there are issues with the Canadian Health system but there are going to be problems with any Health Care system. In Canada, the Health Care system looks at providing a reasonable level of care for everyone. It is a system with very low administration cost meaning that the money that is available does go to health care and not large salaries.
    But health care today is extremely expensive. As the number of procedures, drugs and number of diseases considered treatable grows, there is going to be a trade off between what the system can provide and what the user is willing to pay whether that is through a private insurance or through the tax system.
    I see many extreme situations portrayed in advertisements decrying the Canadian system - yet the Canadian system does offer universal coverage at reasonable cost with a lot of choice over health provider and treatment options. I see the US system as one where the Capitalist system requires Health providers to make money off the sick, provide little choice as to who delivers treatment and which cares nothing for the poor who would undermine profit. Surely, profit making companies have no place in providing what is a life preserving service. Is it conscionable to have people making money off the sick and ailing?

    As a fellow resident of the People’s Republic of Massachusetts I feel your pain, Jeffet.

    I have also considered the “get out of Dodge” solution but I don’t think I will use it.

    “The only way forward that makes sense is regulations. Cost controls and so on.” –Jeffet

    I think we have better options but I can understand why it looks that way to you and others. The inflation rate for healthcare is through the roof and so people want to contain it somehow. But when you implement cost controls people start using all sorts of methods to get around the cost controls and those methods lead to greater overall inflation.

    Insurance companies have been trying to control costs and what they do is limit what they pay to providers so then the providers send out inflated bills. The providers also use other tactics. When the insurers put in a control and try to fix the price of a twenty-minute office visit then the providers reduce the time of the office visit to fifteen minutes. For example, if a doctor sees three patients in an hour and he gets a fixed $40 per visit then the hourly total is $120. The simplest way for him to increase his pay is to reduce the time for each visit and do four in an hour because now he will get $160.

    If the insurance company sets a fixed price for an x-ray then the providers get around it by doing a lot more x-rays and by shrinking the area of the x-ray. Rather than x-ray your whole arm and count it as one x-ray, they divide the arm up into the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow and upper arm. So when cost controls are implemented the controls set off different types of inflation that would not occur without the control.

    People think that doctors are practicing defensive medicine; increasing the number of tests they order so that they can protect themselves from lawsuits. Inflation caused by lawsuits and defensive medicine is minor compared to the inflation caused by “economic” medicine. The cost controls implemented by insurers are causing overall costs to rise.

    The government is also an insurer and it has already implemented the same types of cost controls and regulations implemented by the insurance companies. That means that our healthcare system has already implemented lots of cost controls and regulations (regulations implemented by the insurers create the paperwork we all get buried in). And all of those cost controls and regulations are making the total cost of medical care increase rather than decrease.

    Our biggest obstacles to finding a solution are the false assumptions we all make. And all of the proposed fixes to the healthcare problem are based on false assumptions. The insured are subsidizing the uninsured; that’s false. Only a government run plan can work; that’s false. Only a privately run plan can work; that’s false.

    Maybe we should all question our assumption that the best thing to do is stay in this country.

    Maybe we should all consider the idea of getting out of Dodge.

    After viewing the top insurance executives pay, it is evident that there is a whole pile of money that is going into the health care system that is not used for health care. Single payer privately administered is the best way to go and that idea is not being debated in Congress. With the amount of money being spent we could be doing much better.

    Hypocrisy of politicians who oppose Obama’s Health Care Reform
    Senators and Representatives benefit from a government run health system, but some of them try to deny similar health benefits to the citizens they represent. In a well functioning democratic society, all citizens should have access to the same health care that their elected representatives enjoy. This is the meaning of fairness and equality.
    Senators and Representatives frequently talk about religious values. They should know from the Bible that Jesus helped sick people and opposed moneychangers. If politicians were true believers, they would follow Jesus in helping citizens in need of medical care and not support insurance companies in profiteering.
    Real political leaders support Health Care Reform.

    Vashek Cervinka July 21, 2009
    Davis, CA 95618

    Steve G I see your point.
    The only way forward that makes sense is regulations.

    Cost controls and so on.
    I have come to the conclusion that this is dead in the water.

    I live in Massachusetts and I can say that using this sate as a model is a huge mistake. It's not working, it's failing.

    I'm thinking one solution is to move to Canada, I have relatives there.

    Jeffet,

    We are not required by law to participate in Medicare or Medicaid.

    I was responding to your question of why this healthcare issue is a Constitutional issue when it comes to mandatory insurance. The first part of the answer is that any time we try to enact a law in this country any issue automatically becomes a Constitutional issue because the Constitution sets up the rules for enacting laws; what we can and can’t do.

    This, the second part of the answer deals with why freedom of religion and other liberties become a problem with mandatory insurance.

    A couple of years back, the state of Massachusetts mandated that all citizens have health insurance. If you don’t have health insurance in Massachusetts you can be punished with fines. The lawmakers understood when they were writing that law that there was a problem with freedom of religion and mandated coverage. It is against the religious beliefs of some people to go to a doctor, or hospital, or participate in the healthcare system in any way at all.

    So what the lawmakers did was put in exceptions to the law. Some people could get an exemption and not get fined by the state if they lacked health insurance. And the lawmakers thought that that would get them around the freedom of religion problem. You might be granted an exemption from the law if you are a Christian Scientist. But what if you are Catholic or Jewish?

    How is the government supposed to grant a religious exemption for some, but not all, without putting your religious beliefs to some sort of test? They can’t. They have to set up some sort of a pass/fail religious test.

    The “establishment” clause in the first amendment sets the rule that the government is not allowed to set up a religious test where one religion is okay and automatically passes the test, and another religion isn’t good enough and does not. So, the “mandated” part of the Massachusetts healthcare law will not stand up to a Constitutional challenge. The first person challenging it on religious grounds will win and all religions will be granted the same exemption. And so the mandated insurance part of the law will be useless.

    In the United States, if we mandate health insurance coverage the “free exercise” clause in the first Amendment to the Constitution requires that we put in a religious exemption to the mandate, but the “establishment” clause in the same Amendment prohibits us from putting in a religious test. So any person would be able to claim the exemption on religious grounds and avoid any mandated coverage.

    Mandated coverage won’t work in the United States because there is no Constitutional way to truly mandate it. There will always be some way for people to opt out.

    I agree with you that we have to find some way to work things out. It’s clear that the present system has big problems and the politics in finding solutions always makes things nutty. But one way or another things will change.

    Right now we are testing out the idea of the government taking over all healthcare insurance. The baby boomers have hit retirement age and are increasing the Medicare ranks. The wars we are involved in are increasing the ranks covered by the Veteran’s Administration. And due to the economic meltdown, more and more families are qualifying for Medicaid.

    The outcome for these tests of government run insurance doesn’t look good because the financing hasn’t been addressed.

    To jeffet,

    After reading your 8:25 pm post, I sympathize and agree with your conclusions.

    From a political prospective "democratic" rule, for and by the people, is not compatible in a capitalistic system, unless as you imply, rule by "the people" is limited to the "fat cats people" who control the politics and shape the laws and world for the rest of us.

    This is the case with all other forms of governess be they parliamentary, socialistic or communistic. Its the old golden rule by any other name, to coin a phrase, "he who has the gold, rules".

    Personally, I found the words in the Bible most profound in this case where it says not to put your trust in nobles or son's of men in whom there is no salvation, let alone health care or any real sense of humanity.

    It was for no small significance that the Christ said to pray for God's Kingdom (Government of the Heavens) to come and for His will to take place as in Heaven also on earth. The only solution to mankind's problems.

    Bottom line is this, men were never meant to rule themselves. We had an impartial and Just Ruler, but the rebellion in Eden resulted in the world we know today and with all the injustices which are repeated in history books we read.

    But there is light and hope at the end of the tunnel. It's just not going to come from men or the governess of men.

    Please sign this new HR 676 single payer health care petition at http://bit.ly/HR676 and get many people to sign it.


    This is a relatively simplistic summary of how to make the cost of health care less, so more of us can afford insurance for it.

    --A public plan that is financed by patients like a mutual company is a clean. More federal health insurance subsidies supplied to for-profit insurers is a dirty.

    --Insurance portability is a clean. Continued dependency on employer-based coverage is a dirty.

    --Coverage policy decisions by government bureaucrats is a relative clean--by for-profit company executives is a relative dirty.

    --Enrollment of continuously insured patients without pre-existing exclusions is a clean.

    --Enrollment of patients without prior coverage at equal premiums for all is a dirty.

    --Referral to others for a medical test is a clean. Self-referral for tests is a dirty.

    --An MRI to be sure an operation is needed is a clean. An MRI is a patient who is not an operative candidate is a dirty.

    --A test needed to manage a patient is a clean. A test needed to avoid a law suit is a dirty.

    --Peer review in hospitals is a clean. The status-quo is a dirty.

    --On-label anti-cancer drug use is a clean. Off-label use without evidence development is a dirty.

    --Hospice care is a clean. Dying in the hospital from a chronic illness is a dirty.

    --Comparative effectiveness research affecting coverage and payment policy is a clean. CER that is ignored is a dirty.

    --Primary care physicians are a clean. Disease management carve out programs are a dirty.

    --Government sponsored clinics is a clean. Fee-for-service Medicaid is a dirty.

    --Someone's income is a clean. Someone's cost is a dirty.

    --Rationing based on necessity and reasonableness is a clean. No rationing is a dirty.

    This is becoming a three ring circus. This week the republican party is now calling the health care reform Obama's Waterloo.

    Excuse me, for asking but I sometimes wonder if the republican party stands for more than just the party of nasty BS.

    On the other hand the democrats are arguing amongst themselves like a bunch of old hens.

    I have read all the plans.
    They are all complete crap.
    None of them deal with the issue of for profit health care as a model that is unsustainable.

    Obama's plan is so lacking in dealing with the real issues. The house plan is absurd, and now the republicans are seeing blood.

    Can't we get anything done in this country?

    Oh we can save wall street, AIG and bank of America.
    This we can do at the cost of billions to tax payers and with secret closed door deals.

    What is wrong with this country? Why is it that it's legal for some rube to give away AK 47's with every car he sells, what kind of nation lets this kind of madness go on?

    People get hot under the collar about gun control but mention some health care control and they cry socialism, there going to "experiment" with your health care.

    I'm starting think we are so lost as a nation that we will never be able to solve any of the social ills of this country on any level.

    We are doomed to sink even further, it seems that the experiment in democracy that the Founders envisioned is now nothing more than a joke. A joke told by fat cats in back rooms of wall street and other corporations that just want complete control of this country.

    When I read that a poor country such as Nicaragua has national health care and more rights for the worker, such as a paid month off a year, too name a few, I just think we are doomed, doomed to failure as a nation and a democracy.


    It is truly risky to the American consumer what measures will evolve from new legislation to provide health care to millions.

    First, let's examine what happened to universal prescription coverage. The administration and Congress supported a plan to totally aid their money supporters - the drug companies. Medicare Part D requires everyone to pay full retail for prescriptions! Can you imagine what the cost of drugs would be if it were a negotiated price for millions of customers?

    Then Congress won't touch the subject of controlling the drug companies by restricting their direct marketing of drugs on TV commercials. The place for a discussion of which prescription or other alternative medicine is best for the patient is when they sit down with their physician, not "talk to your physician to see if 'Viagra' is good for you". Drug company sales are profoundly boosted by this method, and, contributions to doctors are boosted by the number they write. The pharmaceutical industry could just contribute those millions now going to television marketing and divert it to payment of universal health care. Thirdly, the payments to doctors and our political system in favors, vacations, and outright grants by Big Pharma should also go to universal health care. All three measures would remove the pressures on congressional men and women to vote a certain path, our personal prescription bill would be lessened, television commercials would be improved in substance and hopefully a decrease in repetitiveness, and the citizens, rich and poor, could better afford the costs of health care. Short of these miracles, why not follow the lead of the State of Vermont and secure federal legislation that requires physicians to disclose every nickel received from outside sources, i.e., Big Pharma.

    TO Jeffet,

    you mentioned me. I don't get it. You explained every nations policy, but you came to the same conclusion that all countries other than AMERICA is having Health Care for its people.

    I was explaining the same thing although I have no political knowledge of the whole situation. I have family in Australia and England. They never complain about the Health Care system.

    John,
    “The uninsured that can pay have their bill increased to cover those that cannot pay.”

    You were halfway to being completely correct when you wrote that, John.

    The self-paying uninsured are not only subsidizing the non-paying uninsured, they are also subsidizing the insured people. That’s a huge part of the healthcare problem and most people don’t understand that. For decades, the self-paying uninsured people have been keeping our healthcare system from collapsing. You are insured, and so, some self-payer likely paid a part of your medical bill. It is likely that you are being subsidized.

    To see how that is possible, people need to understand how “honest” medical insurance works. (yes. I know that “honest insurance” is an oxymoron and seems to make about as much sense as “government intelligence”.) To shorten the explanation, I need to leave out the government insured or subsidized people.

    So we start with five groups: the insurance companies, the medical providers, the insured, the non-paying uninsured and the self-paying uninsured.

    In its simplest form, honest medical insurance works like this.

    The insurance company collects all premiums paid by the insured and then takes an honest cut. Let’s say the company gets 5% of all the premiums collected. Let’s also say that, on average, 6% gets put into a “rainy day fund”, and the remaining 89% gets paid out, on average, to the medical providers (87% covers provider costs, 2% is the medical provider profit).

    In honest insurance, the only part of the collected premiums that is considered to be the property of the insurance company is the 5%. No part of the remaining 95% is EVER considered to be the property of the insurance company. The 95% is the collective property of the insured until it gets paid out to the medical providers. The insurance company gets paid to manage the 95%; it doesn’t own the 95%.

    Here are the honest books (the average year’s dollar distribution per $100 of premiums collected):

    $5 – paid to the insurance company. (the management fee)
    $6 – put into a rainy day fund (for years when payouts exceed the average year).
    $89 –payout to medical providers of which:
    $87- covers medical provider average costs.
    $2- medical provider average profit.

    Now we bring another group into the game, a gang of crooks that take over all of the insurance companies.

    The first thing the crooks do is to seize the ownership of the rainy day fund and they rename it the I-G.G. fund. This I-G.G. fund of ill-gotten gains can now be used to grab more money and power, and launder billions of dollars.

    (I’ll use dollars per hundred rather than percents in what follows.)

    In any year where the payout to providers is less than $89, the crooks move the excess money into the I-G.G. fund. In a year where the payout exceeds $89 the crooks use it as an excuse to raise premiums. The crooks say, “We are nice guys and we are willing to pay that excess out of our own pockets for this year. We will take that money out of OUR I-G.G. fund. But we can’t do that every year. We must raise premiums to cover rising costs.”

    Note that there really isn’t any medical inflation yet. In this model, all years average out as a constant. But the crooks pocketed the money in years where the excess would normally be put into the rainy day fund. The rainy day fund would normally cover above average payout years but crooks stole that fund. So the crooks are causing the inflation in the premiums; inflation that would not occur in honest insurance. And the crooks blame that inflation on rising medical costs that aren’t actually rising.

    Now the crooks say, “We need to control this medical inflation. We need to restrict the payouts to the medical providers to control costs.”

    Using the excuse of cost containment, the crooks steal money from each provider payout and direct their booty into the I-G.G. fund. Let’s say that the amount stolen averages out to be $9 per hundred dollars of collected premiums. It’s time to look at the books.

    $5 –management fees.
    $6 –stolen rainy day money.
    $9 –stolen provider payouts.
    $80 –payouts to medical providers

    -$7 –the average loss for medical providers.

    The crooks have not only stolen the rainy day fund, they have stolen so much of the provider payout money that the providers are in danger of going belly-up. The providers realize that the crooks never pay the amount billed, but the crooks will pay more if the bill is higher. So now the providers try to scam the crooks. They send out inflated bills; bills with a “sticker price” that is far more than actual cost for the services provided.

    Note that it is the crooks that have caused these inflated bills to be sent out. There wasn’t any inflation before the crooks took over. But these inflated bills aren’t just being sent out to the crooks, they are also being sent out to the uninsured. For the non-paying uninsured the inflated bills don’t matter; they are non-payers. The inflated bills are only paid in full by the self-paying uninsured. And those inflated payments keep the medical providers from going out of business.
    Here’s how that works:

    Let’s say that a medical procedure has a true cost of $300, the provider sends out an inflated bill for $1,000 and the total payment from crooks and the insured person’s co-pay is only $250.

    Then there is a $50 shortfall. If one self-payer pays the full $1,000 it covers his procedure ($300), the procedure of one non-payer ($300), and eight underpayments by the crooks (8 x $50 = $400).

    That means that 30 million self-payers can subsidize 30 million non-payers and 240 million insured people. It means that 30 million self-paying uninsured could subsidize a nation of 300 million people.

    But the game has changed. The economic meltdown has reduced the subsidy that the self-payers can put into the healthcare system. Credit card debt and home equity were major sources of subsidy for our healthcare system.

    So we are in trouble.

    Which is not exactly news.

    In the film 'Sicko', it showcased the success of the socialized medicine plans in Canada, the UK and France.

    When you bring up this topic in the US, the politicians and TV shows say that the plans in these countries are a mess and no one there can get timely and decent service.

    One relative said they had a friend in Canada that was elderly and could not get a knee replacement. She was kept on a waiting list for years.

    Is this hype or is specialized medical care for the elderly a problem?

    Who is telling the truth?

    Marc I agree with some of what your saying. My main problem with the insurance companies is that they do what ever they want, charge whatever they want and are more interested in profits then health care. If somehow this could be removed from the equation plus they can't deny coverage to anyone we might stand a chance.
    People should also not go broke from health care issues. Somehow this has to be worked out.

    I don't like the Canadian system as much as the Swiss one as a model as they use private insurance companies that are regulated by the government.

    We need better regulations, which seems to be a dirty word in this country. To cut cost there will have to be some cuts. For instance doctors should stop over testing. One of the things not being discussed is malpractice insurance which is a huge burden on doctors and hospitals.

    One other thing that should be done, no health insurance corporations should be allowed to own any health care facilities. This is a conflict of interest.

    Now the governors of both parties are protesting that they don't like what's being proposed due to the issue that they have to pay for about 40% of all Medicaid cost and that they can't afford it.

    Bottom line this is one very screwed up country and I for one am beginning to think we are not going to get this solved. It's going to fail, which will be a shame and a tragedy. The thing I worry about is that the only outcome is a gerrymandered system or Frankenstein monster of government crap put together that will only make it worse.

    We need to make some hard decisions here, what do we want to pay for? Right now I think we spend way to much on our military as a percentage of GDP.

    By the way the Post Office works pretty well.

    This is just filled with demagoguery.

    We complain about the insurance industry denying coverage. Then, in another program, we complain about the high cost of health care, with fraud being one of the main components.

    We elevate medicare as an efficient program. Or course, we leave out that medicare outsources administrative costs. For example, guess who reviews claims when medicare pays … it’s an insurer. If Mr. Moyers knows this, he’s dishonest for not challenging the efficiency of medicare. If he doesn’t know, it’s embarrassing.

    I favor a single payer system. It puts our companies on the same playing field as those of other companies. And, frankly, the existing system is broken. But I think it will be less efficient than the current system. I can’t think of a government agency that’s more efficient than the private sector equivalent – postal service, public schools, you name it.

    And then, of course, politicians will politicize it. Democrats will want to insure all illegal aliens (and therefore encourage poor people everywhere to come here). Republicans will try to exclude anything that smacks of abortion. When we find we can no longer spend money like drunken sailors, we’ll cut back a bit at a time. If you doubt this, look at what’s happening with public projects, public colleges and just about everything that states fund now.

    As you can tell, I don’t have an answer. But Moyers’ unwillingness to critically analyze views he favors, doesn’t do us any favors.

    When I was working in battleground states for the Obama campaign, I would run into some very ignorant, hate-obsessed people who would refer to Obama as "a snake in the grass," with no basis for this accusation other than some vague feelings which, upon closer scrutiny, would invariably turn out to be racist-based or based on misperceptions and prejudices about Obama's religious background.

    Ron Williams strikes me as being an actual snake-in-the-grass. Obama being the highly intelligent and aware person that he is, I assume he recognizes this.

    the clip from Sicko said it all: NO INSURANCE NEEDED.

    The HUGE SAVINGS from single payer come from reduced paperwork and
    No Worker's Comp Medical
    No Auto Ins. Medical

    Providers not having to bill 25 Payers.

    ALL THAT LOST if the plan is to extend the current disfunctional and hugely expensive INSURANCE system.

    NO HEALTH INSURANCE at basic level.
    People can buy private health insurance if they want it.

    Obviously a huge source of profits and employement for white collare workers will be lost.

    Everyone ELSE Wins.
    Direct Care Providers and Patients especially Win Win Win.

    Dear Steve G.
    Can we PLEASE leave the IRS out of this? The money put into a health account ought NOT to be taxed. Once we start setting individual expenditure based on tax rates, the plan will be configured to satisfy the IRS! The micromanagement by government of personal and business decisions is destroying the economy; so is requiring employers to provide health insurance. Where did this idiotic idea come from? What does employment have to do with healthcare? It's a Puritanical leftover: The Non-rich are inferior and deserve suffer. To reduce healthcare costs we've got to return decisions to patient/doctor - no insurance, red tape, or meddling! How will people learn about care and costs unless they are spending their own money? We're trapped in a monstrous social relic that needs a wrecking ball, not more coma-inducing calculations and fixes.

    There is a political power base in this country that is Faith based. They are rich, organized, politically powerful, and experienced. July 16 I posted a nasty series of words to try to dropkick them off the fence and get them involved in this national healthcare issue.

    I do not want them to take sides. I just want them to stand over the process in Washington and make sure that those with undue influence are countered.

    It is a moral and ethical position I want them to take centered on the welfare of their fellow man.

    Is there not even one from the Faith Based Right to take up this moral and ethical burden?

    I do not have a representative in Congress. The money sent to wall street and banks took 3 days, a trillion to bail out fraud and greed. A trillion to cover all citizens is too much?

    Steve G, you are absolutely right.

    “The insured do not subsidize the uninsured”. Here is why.

    I carry and 80/20 with $1000.00 deductible health insurance plan. Four weeks ago I had an operation. The first bill came in (I’m going to round off the numbers). There were two columns listing what was owed.

    If I were not insured the bill would be $39,000.00. Because I am insured the bill is $12,000.00. The insurance company pays $9,600.00 and I pay 2,400.00 (co pay).

    What this means is the hospital + other health service providers cannot pass on their actual cost to the insured.

    The uninsured that can pay have their bill increased to cover those that cannot pay.

    How the insurance companies can get away with price-fixing baffles me.

    I think Bill Moyers is one of the outstanding journalists of all time.

    His commentary after the interview with Wendell Potter was one of his best ever. He is one of the few that is telling the true story behind the attempts against true Universal Health Care, i.e. free for all.

    This country could easily afford it if it got it's priorities straight, i.e. in the interest of the people and not corporate greed.

    To make it work, we absolutely need both single payer and public financing of all political campaigns. These issues go hand in hand.

    We also need total true choice including all options of alternative and complementary medicine to be covered for free. This type of medicine can prevent, as well as heal, a lot of chronic illness at much lower cost than conventional medicine. I've seen it first-hand.

    All compromises with a "public option" are bound to fail as so eloquently and succinctly stated above by Anthony Randazzo.

    The rhetoric that talks about "Universal Health Care" is simply another cover up that is falsely using a popular phrase to describe something that is not at all what it portends to be.

    Free, true, Universal Health Care could easily be paid for with savings of single payer and dramatically reduced drug costs to the level paid by other countries.

    In addition, every wellness program that I've read about that's been implemented by corporations have shown to pay for themselves through reduced sick days and health care costs. This should be part of Universal Health Care to capture those savings on a national basis.

    Mr. Moyers summed it up at the beginning of his show, Mr. Wright is a Journalist. He is not a Biblical scholar nor does he know anything substantial about God or what the Bible teaches about God.

    Mr. Wright's empty philosophy falls into what is said at 2 Timothy 4:3,

    “There will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled; and they will turn their ears away from the truth.”

    God has not changed (Malachi 3:6) nor has He evolved to fit popular customs.

    The notion of God evolving is essential as we approach a future where reasoning and accountability are the only hope for sustainability. Looking at the world around me has led me to certain conclusions. We are a noun. We have created a God in our image. But what would explain a hundred billion galaxies? What would explain the stars and dark matter which seems to bind this all together? I found God in the beautiful organization of the Periodic Table. I found God while watching children learn to count. I found God while listening to kids talk about the details of dinosaurs. They had memorized the Latin names of those extinct behemoths. What is the survival importance in that? What personal need can that possibly satisfy? There truly is something magical in children.

    For me, God is not a noun, but a verb. God, simply stated, is the Creative Force. By definition, I imagine that idea as a unified field theory. Within the Creative Force I identify two main energies at work, Composition and Decomposition.

    The early Universe produced stars which were predominantly made up of hydrogen atoms. As those early stars went into supernova, they began to form the Periodic Table that we know today. More recent stars, which included those elements, would supernova into the rest of the elements. For instance, our Sun was born with enough iron to build the inner, iron rich, planets. That’s the same iron which flows through our veins. We are truly star stuff. Those elements are the foundation blocks of all the compounds that we know. Those compounds have evolved into the eyes reading these words and the mind considering these ideas.

    God is not intelligent design. The design is in the endlessly changing and evolving possibility of the entire Universe. The nature of God is evolution. Everything is God. Our lives are not the lives of lonely little specks on a tiny insignificant planet which is spinning around an average sun. We are a part of the greater cosmos, a magnificent symbol, a metaphor for the force flowing through everything. Everyday we have a chance to make decisions which will lead to Composition or Decomposition. Our choices are made with the limited intelligence we have. If our choices lead to the destruction of our species, then we may concede that the journey was amazing. If we can begin to realize that our choices are wonderfully important, that we are constructing tomorrow, that careful reasoning and built-in accountability are essential, then we may work toward a more interesting future where we explore yet unthought-of possibilities.

    Trapped within our primal notion of God is the idea of human hierarchy and intolerance. That is a wonderful image of Decomposition. Democracy and enfranchisement really is a much better concept than nobility. The works of our Congressional representatives are a part of the force which will lead toward Composition or Decomposition and no one can escape that. For those human beings without healthcare, in a nation which has produced so much wealth, it’s as terrible as the purposeful torture and murder of many thousands of people every year. It reaches far beyond a national disgrace. It’s a legacy of personal avarice and indifference of others, left over from the systematic genocide of the American Indians. No system can survive for long with the wealthy eating the poor. God must evolve if we are to survive.

    NLF you seem a little off balance. You mentioned countries with parliamentary democracies the most part.

    Britain still has monarchy (the queen owns all the swans and most of Scotland), Australia and Canada are part of the commonwealth, or the old British empire.

    Scandinavia is in Europe, as is Iceland although they are not completly part of EU. Each Scandinavian country has it's own form of government, some such as Denmark also have a royal family.

    France has a president and a prime minister or a semi-presidential system.

    What are you talking about in context to a national health care system.
    In Europe most countries have these systems because of WW2 and after the war they liked how it worked so they kept them. By the way it was Winston Churchill who started up the national health system in GB and he was a conservative.

    Canada changed to a single payer system in the 80's.
    They spend about $5,170 per person for complete coverage. (My wife and I spend close to that and that's without dental.)

    Bottom line is if we as Americans really want this it can be done. Unfortunately our government has for the most part sold out to special interest.


    to CSnow101:

    you have a funny name but you are the only person that knows something:

    Back to my explaining that GOVERNMENT depends on what America is talking about!!!

    The rest of the world has a different form of government. Britain and Australia and Europe and Scandinavia, and Iceland, and Canada etc., have a government by the people, for the people and with the people. IT IS FREE!!!!.

    CAN AMERICANS UNDERSTAND THIS!.

    Steve G.
    What about Medicaid and Medicare?

    They have been around for over 40 years and I can't remember too many legal challenges set down by the Supreme Court.

    Only way to win this healthcare war is no longer take out health insurance and let those companies fail from their own corporate greed and lack of morals. Without customers paying the premiums there would be no healthcare insurance to worry about. Doctors and hospitals if they wanted to stay running would be forced to reduce their charges by a great deal. Don't depend on government to fix the system. We can do it ourselves.

    Got 'Sicko' from my library and watched it last night. I can see what 'socialized medicine' a.k.a. 'universal healthcare' is all about now.

    You guys will never get it.

    Once socialized healthcare gets put in all the doctors work for the gov. The HMO's that are raping the citizens would be out of biz overnight and the drug companies could no longer screw its captive audience.

    Doctors don't want a cap on capitalism, they would not be satisfied with the $100,000 to $200,000 salaries that the English doctors make.

    The retired English politician interviewed int he film had it right. The powers that be keep the populace demoralized and unhealthy so they stay under control. They keep them in debt and encourage them to get 'into' their religion. After all, religion offers the only hope of some relief after a life of hard work.

    Well, the worker also has some hope that they may retire to a sweat box one room apartment and hopefully be able to afford some dog food to eat. But the ways things are going with the Ponzi schemers, wall street and the full faith and backing of the politicians, those hope are dimming as well.

    Things will only get worse as the rich get richer and greedier, the population gets sicker from an unhealthy diet that is pushed on us and healthcare costs keep rising to astronomical levels.

    a response to Jeffet,

    I wrote “freedom of religion and other liberties wind up being issues with mandatory insurance.” And you wrote back with “This makes no sense to me and has nothing to do with the issues. Why? Why is this a constitutional issue?”

    Okay, here’s why.

    The American law game always involves the Constitution and its Amendments because there are words in there like “Congress shall make no law…” So you always have to consider Constitutional challenges when you are writing up new laws because the Constitutions sets up the rules of the game of what laws we can enact and what laws we can’t.

    Let’s say that the Congress and the President agree on a health care plan and write it into law, and 99% of the people in this country love it too. All of the work involved could be for nothing if the Constitution was ignored. Because if the laws passed violate the Constitution or any of its Amendments, and just one person in the 1% of the people who don’t like the new healthcare system challenges that new system in court, then the Supreme Court will toss that wonderful new healthcare system out.

    Health insurance companies have lots of money to spend on lawyers and those lawyers will be combing through any healthcare plan that insurance companies don’t like and they will be looking for Constitutional violations. And all of the other interest groups involved in this healthcare thing will do the same. Any one of those interest groups could get the new healthcare system tossed out by the Supreme Court if there is any Constitutional violation. So whatever healthcare plan we come up with should be checked for Constitutional violations early on, before we write it into law.

    You also wrote, “It amazes me how so many people have so much bad information.”

    We all have lots of information, some of it good and some bad. If I had to pick the top piece of bad information, the one that messes things up the most, it would be the idea that the insured people are subsidizing the uninsured people.

    Insurance companies spread that idea and most people buy into it, but it’s not true. The reverse is true. The uninsured people are subsidizing the insured, that’s the mechanism behind it all. That’s how insurance companies are able to get away with theft on a massive scale. Insurers have to frame others for the crime; they have to point a finger at the uninsured and say, “It’s them! The uninsured. They are the cause!”

    Jeffet, neither one of us is an insurance company fan in this thing and we disagree on the solution to the healthcare problem because we start in different ways.

    I start with the Constitution and work from there.

    Mr Moyers
    Thank you for this interview and your brilliant comments about the Washington Post fiasco at the end.

    What struck me most about what Mr Potter had to say was how much sense it made. As public, profit making enterprises, the insurance companies have only one mission, to make money. They do that by maximizing revenue and minimizing costs. We the insureds are their raw material. Our health insurance industry is working as designed.

    I'm a capitalist. I have a lot of money invested in stocks and I like profit. But the notion that the market is always the best way to supply a good or a service and the government is always inept...is horse pucky.

    All we have to do is decide to implement a health insurance system that puts the American people first. That doesn't mean it will be easy but the status quo must change.

    Host, the "Comments" icon below Robert Wright's photo (tonight 7/17) is linking me directly to these "Public Option"/Wendell Potter comments. Not seeing the regular "Video" option, just "Comments."

    (freedom of religion and other liberties wind up being issues with mandatory insurance).

    This makes no sense to me and has nothing to do with the issues.

    Why? Why is this a constitutional issue?

    It amazes me how so many people have so much bad information. We already shell out billions into a model that is based on the profit margins of the insurance corporations.

    They already charge us more every year at double to triple the rate of inflation.

    Get the insurance corporations out of the picture, period.

    This notion of people saving money up for their health care is absurd and does not address the problem.

    All of you people who are market based and for this obsolete notion that the free market will solve the problem are not getting it.

    It's not about you or me, it's about having a caring and just health care system that treats all people so as a nation we can at least have our health and not go broke from getting sick.

    I found the PBS special with CIGNA CEO Wendall Potter powerful. I live in a small community in Sweden, Maine and volunteer with the local food pantry. I often do the intakes and am outraged when I see truckers, former mill workers, masons, welders, construction workers -- many of whom have worked more than twenty years arriving at the pantry both sick and broke because they have been layed off, cannot find employment, often are on the brink of foreclosure and expected to pay COBRA payments or outrageous sums for medical insurance.
    I sm equally horrified that so many who come to the pantry are sending me petitions from freeour healthcarenow.com saying : "Sign the "Free Our Health Care Now!! petition -- Stop the Government Takeover before it's too late." The propaganda aimed toward the most vulnerable is coming from the far right and it is terrifying.
    I would love to have a copy of Moyer's interview with Wendall Potter as well as one of the right wing documentaries so that we can show both movies in our Town Hall and have a discussion. How can a get a copy of the Moyers-Potter inteview. After that perhaps we in this small town and neighboring towns could watch SICKO.
    What concerns me is that those who watch Bill Moyers are not the same people who watch Fox News However, what Moyers talks about applies mostly to the lives of people who are being scammed daily by
    the right wing who somehow manage to reach them whereas, it seems to me, too many visionaries are talking to each other. I see no way of changing this unless we get the two sides together in local groups to watch and discuss directly opposing documentaries, followed by real discussions.

    Virginia Durr
    tillad@gwi.net
    677 Waterford Road
    Sweden, Maine
    207-647-8157

    My spouse and I pay over 12K per year for our healthcare policy (it was over 15K last year but we went with a higher deductible this year) and yet I have NO PEACE OF MIND that if we got sick we would be taken care of in the way the company promises. I TRUST my car insurance, I TRUST my homeowner's insurance, that they will keep to their contracts and cover me if something happens, but I DON'T TRUST MY HEALTHCARE INSURANCE and often feel I'm just pouring money into a blackhole year after year for NOTHING! A middleclass person expects to get what they pay for, but with healthcare we're so often screwed and there's nothing we can do to protect ourselves. This makes me so angry.

    There's no doubt that having a profit making business juxtaposed between Humans and medical treatment is not only harmful, it's outrageously immoral. It amounts to literally millions of corporate murders when you think of how many people have been denied life saving procedures that might diminish "the bottom line" for the insurance companies.
    It's all pretty disgusting. Single payer is the ONLY real solution and the most straight forward option available. And it is avalable but, not through congress or slow, lethargic, watered down legislation. There is another way.

    Pleas check out the "Max Trinity Trickle Up Global Economics" and 250BOYCOTT series on youtube. The series outlines a worldwide boycott that you can join simply by putting a sign on your door or in your window
    CHECK IT OUT.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYbbu-9oYZk

    for Bo Moore,
    Hey there Bo. There are some similarities and differences in our ideas. Let me see if I can combine things and come up with something that you would agree with.
    1. Each person gets to put a calculated amount of money into a medical/retirement savings account (let’s use $7,000 as an example, more on this later). The money put in and any interest gained should be taxed at a reduced rate (let’s say a 4% income tax on the deposited funds and a 1% rate on any interest gained).
    2. Unless you are retired, any withdrawals must be used for healthcare expenses or health insurance premiums.
    3. The person doesn’t have to spend the total; it carries over year to year. The money is considered to be the property of the person and could be treated just like any other part of his/her estate and it could be inherited.
    4. Every year, each person gets to choose a maximum annual out-of pocket/deductible on his or her health insurance policy from a required set of possible deductibles (insurers are required to give people a number of options let’s say $1,000, $2,000, $4,000, $6,000 or $8,000).
    5. The calculated amount each person is allowed to deposit annually is based on the average health insurance cost plus the average out-of pocket expense plus a fixed amount (if the average insurance cost is $4,500, the average out-of pocket is $1,000 and the fixed amount is set at $1,500 then the total calculated amount is $7,000).

    Here are some of the pluses to these ideas:

    a. It gives people more choice and control in the money part of the health insurance game.
    b. It gives people more of an incentive to shop around because the less they withdraw the faster their account will grow.
    c. With a low tax rate on the interest gained the money will grow faster and people will more quickly reach the point where the annual interest gained is greater than their health insurance premiums.
    d. It helps with the low general savings rate and would help increase retirement savings.
    e. It could help stabilize and secure retirement without messing with Social Security.
    f. The banks with the savings accounts will want as much money as possible to stay in their hands and so they will battle with the health insurance companies in the political arena.
    g. It helps the insured and the self-payers while avoiding the Constitutional problems associated with mandatory insurance (freedom of religion and other liberties wind up being issues with mandatory insurance).

    So does this seem acceptable to you, Bo (or anybody else)?
    What would you add or change?


    You who are the Religious Right where are you?

    You, who could act to alleviate the suffering of millions.

    You watch as those you worship with you pay 100% more per citizen than the citizens of the best performing heath care system in the world. Is it that, Christian concern for moral justice and the welfare of your fellow man does not apply when it is those you worship with?

    You watch the systematic health care rape of 307 million people and do nothing. Where is that Christian outrage?

    You expend national treasure to appose gay marriage but have not one penny’s worth of concern for that mother or father that will not buy their medicine because the thought of their children going hungry is too much to bear. Is your Christian compassion reserved only for those that can pay?

    You watch Congress and the moneylenders ignore the top ten health care systems while creating a plan that keeps those you pray with at 37th in the world. And yet,,,,,, maybe I just did not hear it when one of your Religious Right leaders cried out - foul, treachery, corruption while pointing a finger at Congress.


    Or is that you of the Religious Right cannot hear the leper’s bell from your moneylender’s table?

    One other approach could be tried. We could try to do an end run around the US Congress. It needs to start with a progressive legislature in a small state. I fancy that Vermont might be the place. It is possible for the State Legislatures to require that the US Congress call a constitutional convention. The relevant phrases from Article V are:
    The Congress....on the application of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which...shall be valid....when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as may be proposed by Congress;...

    This provision has always been viewed as dangerous since it is not clear that the power of the Convention can be limited to a single subject. Also, the Constitution does not define the operating principles of a Convention either. Considering the original Constitutional Convention itself as the main example for any new convention, the state legislatures would select some reasonable number of delegates, perhaps three or four, to the convention where each State would have one vote.

    Suggested wording for an Application to Congress for a Constitutional Convention:

    "The Congress of the United States of America is directed by the State of ________
    to call a Constitutional Convention wherein each State shall have one vote to consider an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to provide for Universal Health Care for all American citizens and legally resident aliens. The proposed amendment may be worded as follows:
    The Congress of the United States shall enact legislation to provide a single payer national health insurance system for all citizens of the United States. This system shall be the only form of health insurance provided at taxpayers’ expense to employees or office holders or retirees of the government of the United States. This system shall be financed out of general revenues and not by any special tax on employment or wages.

    This system shall be in operation within three years of the ratification of this amendment. If it is not, all pay or other compensation for elected officials and political appointees in the Federal Government will be suspended and forever forfeited. Pay will only resume when the system is in operation. Any citizen of the United States will have standing to sue for enforcement of this amendment.

    Nothing in this amendment shall be construed to prevent the United States or any State from operating primary healthcare facilities, employing physicians and other healthcare workers directly, or from providing for the needs of military organizations."

    Any Chance? Any Vermonters out there?

    Stan Severance
    South Carolina

    Maybe a few health insurance headquarters need to be occupied. The same way those people in Michigan occupied the window factory.

    It seems too me that the corporate interest is all that matters here.

    Right to work states, that is the biggest BS ever put forth to destroy the rights of the little guy.

    Why is that countries such a France and Germany, with very strong unions and a populace that is very political as well are more productive then this country is with shorter work weeks and longer vacations to boot.

    These "old world" European countries also have little or no personal credit card debt. So who is doing it right here?

    Mayday wrote, in part, "Maybe to bring our health and care back into balance, a spiritual renewal is in order!"

    Hmmm, "spiritual renewal"...interesting.

    The TV droning on in the background with the grilling of Paulson is SO much better than any Soap Opera - reality is always above and beyond "fiction".

    What is up for consideration in the Congress vs Paulson Q&A session today is this "ethical" question - if you tell someoone that they will be fired if you don't do the job - is that "threatening" the person?

    Long personal story with what happens if you DO get fired when you take the other choice. The company (a biotech company) told the State I was willfully NOT doing the job, so no umemployment for me. AND the State I was living in then was free to blacklist me for future employment in that "right to work" state.

    Now before all the ghouls and vampires come out of the woodwork to psychobabbalize me, the three "whistleblower" women on the cover of Time Magazine (remember? the FBI agent, and the execs from Worldcom and Enron?) - none of those three ladies have had a job since then...

    So now you're unemployed because you did not respond to what may or may not have been a "threat" no unemployment benefits, loss of income draining away from "retirement" SS funds after age 65 - AND thrown into COBRA for "health insurance"....

    I wrote out a 2 month check to COBRA because I would be traveling and would miss the deadline. I made a 0.21 cent error - meaning I was short 0.21 cents - but got the 742 dollars part okay :-).

    So I came back home to find a notice that my COBRA benefits were cut off, effective the month BEFORE the current one. I called United Health Care. A dude in Jacksonville FL "handled" me by - get this, you can't make this stuff up - QUOTING A PASSAGE FROM THE BIBLE about how people like me were "sinning" by trying to cheat.

    I kid you not, people. This was in 2004.

    So I asked about the $742 I did send them - what did they do with it? The holy dude hemmed and hawed - probably could not find the passage in the bible - so I told him I expected that money to be returned to me ASAP. It took UHC over 4 months to return the money.

    Twenty one cents. You could walk a couple of city blocks and pick up that change on the street (in 2004 you could).

    So you have to excuse me, Mayday, when I hear that a solution to the health care debacle on this e-table is "spiritual renewal". That's been an alert FOR ME, in the this past decade, that something REALLY nasty is being "done unto others".

    to all Americans:

    Seems like you all live under a rock. Wendel Potter is the only one that has come forward to explain what Every foreigneer has known from the day they come to this country. The rich are living off the poor, but the poor do not seem to realize this.


    In the middle ages, advances in medicine/science were challenged by the authority of The Church in order to maintain control. Revolts over control are not new. Now, as a culture addicted to fast, easy, fun and more, we expect to feel good and function well even if we are too stressed, busy, bored or fat.
    Consumption controls us now and the battle for control is being legislated.
    I resist having faith in insurance companies or the government. One is for profit, one is for power. The market should influence the conduct of the profit making enterprise, but a lot of the things that make us ill, tobacco, alcohol, processed foods, and well, like pharmaceuticals and technology, generate profits too. Trial lawyers make profits on failures (malpractice) which have contributed substantially to driving costs higher as insurance premiums rise.
    The government power will tend to account for our behavior so we will remain healthy. Does this mean a smoker will be deprived surgery? Or an obese person? How will substance abuse be managed? What happens if you are too old, disabled or not born?
    MediCare (CMS) is not the most efficiently run bureaucracy. Its reimbursements to physicians are inadequate resulting in fraud and abuse... something not unique to health insurance companies.
    Will the quality of health care under a single payer government program provide the same level of performance we've come to expect from public education?
    Maybe to bring our health and care back into balance, a spiritual renewal is in order!

    Witness the days of corporate welfare/ 45 million with no healthcare/ but Fox News says that’s all fair and balanced/ they want to silence my alliance while the government commits to violence/ 500 billion spent on defense while 20 percent of the children live in poverty/ it bothers me that robbery will put the hungry in prison/ while CEO’s stacking dough just from robbing the pensions/ not to mention the attention focused on immigration/ blaming migrant workers for devastating the nation/ But Bernanke and the fed manipulate the inflation/ still taxation of the poor with no representation/ asphyxiation of the public school education/ Overcrowded classrooms with no textbooks, budget cuts and teachers giving vexed looks/ we’re dealing with some complex crooks, it’s a culture/ Democrats, Republicans two wings of the same vulture/ getting fat off the bones of the vulnerable, now how is that honorable?

    -JunkyardEmpire

    Single Payer IS being talked about, it is just not hitting the papers and news stations.
    "...It has over 85 co-sponsors in Congress with the support of millions of Americans and countless physicians and nurses. How does HR-676 control costs and cover everyone? It cuts out the for-profit middle men and delivers care directly to consumers and Medicare acts as the single payer of bills. It also recognizes that under the current system for-profit insurance companies make money NOT providing health care."
    -D. Kucinich

    If the people want a single payer system, which according to a USA Today poll "...only four percent of Americans trust insurance companies..." we need to make it known.

    Change will not come from those in power. WE have to call and write Obama and your represenitives. In some states, it may seem hopeless, like here in Texas, but that is why we must call and write Obama and ask why HE wont talk single payer. Would it put most Insurance companies out of business? Probably, but they cry about competition but they are afraid of this because it IS competition.

    Stand up aginst the corporate machine and tell the administration enough is enough! We want the same human rights that the rest of the western industrialized world gets! We want the same rights people in Cuba, and Central America get! We want the same rights so-called "terrorists" in GITMO get! We want the same rights that taxpayer money that goes over seas to kill 3rd world nations for oil could pay for!

    We want People Before Profits!

    Why can't the insurance companies be held liable for manslaughter when they kill someone by denying treatment by cancelling the policy?

    I just watched this video clip with Wendell Potter. It got me so mad and wired that I asked everyone who's email addess I have - to watch it. I'm so made that I feel I need to punch something - put my fist thru the wall - but I won't. In fact, I can't or shouldn't - as I have no health insurance and I'm sure doing so would set me back a bundle. I also have no job and I've been looking steadily for 13 months... My friends, I'm going down!

    With all the talk about the public option vs the private option (insurance industry) there no talk about the single payer option favored by patients and physicians alike. The reason why it will not happen is there is simply not the will to do it even though it is by far the way to go with any kind of reform. Nothing less than a single opayer option is worth doing. All other options play into the hands of the insurance industry and we know that we CANNOT trust the insurance companies with any option. Another thing needs to be said loud and clear: Medicare is not a free plan. Those of us who enjoy its benefits hapid into the trust fund for all of our adult lives. It is not a government "hand-out." Further, we also pay Medicare B premiums to be covered under that level of the plan. Medicare D has premiums for drug coverage. The risk pool is huge which is why it had worked. Anything less than Medicare as a public option is not worth considering. If congress had not robbed the Medicare Trust Fund who knows how much longer it would have remained solvent.

    I absolutely think the private insurance industry has hurt patients and healthcare because they have essentially established a monopoly consisting of a few powerful (and politically connected) interests that can price fix and cull the herd whenever their auditors tell them they have loss leaders in the mix. I believe a single payer system is the only answer - other members of the industrialized nations community have established a universal system, and they run them a far less cost than we do here. I have spoken with individuals at the Canadian Medical Association and at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. They acknowledge that they have their problems with wait times and access, but their challenge is a simpler one, i.e., improve the system in terms of its operation. In the U.S. the challenge is improve both access and affordability. If you can't afford health care here, you can't access it no matter how good it may be. Our challenge is access plus affordability - and if we don't fix the affordability equation, the U.S. will go broke on the costs of healthcare. We also need to disrupt the established systems we employ in healthcare delivery - break the archaic models. Everyone who is vitally interested in this challenge should read Clayton Christensen's book "The Innovator's Prescription"

    What is missing is a strategic plan to reduce healthcare costs so that everyone can afford healthcare.

    1. NO INSURANCE for "everyday" healthcare, instead, each adult gets $2000/yr (just a number); kids $1000. each, to be kept in a savings account.

    2. This must be spent on healthcare, but the individual can spend it where it is needed: general care, dental, eyecare, preventative medicine.

    3. The individual doesn't have to spend the total, it carries over year to year.

    4. Doctors can compete for clients - offer a package deal for the year, etc.

    5. The individual and doctor can decide together how the money can best be spent.

    6. Medical costs drop because there are NO FORMS, paperwork, etc. The doctor gets paid CASH.

    7. A young person can accumulate a large savings account by the time they reach retirement.

    8. It also "makes" people save money, addressing the low savings rate.

    9 Insurance is provided for major medical ONLY. Private plans - okay, a government plan for those who cannot afford or qualify for a private plan.

    Steve G wrote, in part, "The people who started this country had much bigger problems to solve. Without any of our modern communication systems or modern technology they had to fight and win the Revolutionary War and then design and implement a new form of government that would work. Our healthcare problem is a tiny little problem if you compare it to the problems faced by the Founders."

    Thanks for the laugh, Steve. Good one.

    All the Founding Fathers got a chance to do in the WILDERNESS (compared to the cultures of Europe, Russian, China, Japan) of the Americas was to EXCLUDE all the "government" shenanigans that the "elite" had enforced AGAINST THE PEOPLE since the Roman Empire FELL.

    The Founding Fathers SEPARATED church from state because they had REALITY to deal with - boiling water, building shelter, making friends with helpful "locals"...and they had no taste for the "devil" and his "details" - pharisaism - MICRO MANAGING your way to incompetant power over your "worker" class.

    Would the Founding Fathers have read the Material Safety Data Sheet released for aspertame and then WRITE A LAW protecting the incorporation of a chemical that no one NEEDS for nutrition into the "economy" just so one corporation could get rich and then send its former employee to D.C. to be the face of "modern", cheap war in Iraq?

    Who is NOT for "prevention"? I have to pay higher health insurance costs because no one else is reading the labels on salad dressing, bread, salsa, heck, 60% of everything in the stupidmarket to stop buying products with "high fructose corn syrup"...?

    Pharisaism in the communication technology age is a sneaky, vicious tool to induce ABULIA. And for those who do not succumb, there are pharmaceuticals to put you in a permanent "serene" zone, even when you're getting UNFAIRLY rolled.

    The CEO of UHC with the 2005 1.8 BILLION dollar package....? He LED the first "modern" witch burning against Hillary Clinton the last time UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE was a "possibility".

    Unfortunately, there's no "wilderness" in which the generations weaned on micro chips could survive in long enough to grow its own food or set a broken bone. How many of the youth in the Far East don't even know enough to stop playing a video game long enough to car care of their "health" and end up DYING from neglecting their basic body needs?

    Pharisaitical INCOMPETANCE is what is programmed into the Supreme Data Base - GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). Putting MORE spun data in the database has NOTHING to do with "health" care. It has to do with the NEXT billionnaire of the "for profit" health care system who has as his/her spokesperson du jour - the President of the USA.

    Just because nurses aren't into it to "get rich" only means someone else IS in it to "get rich". Like, duh.

    I'm viewing all this yaddayadda as the yelling the referees are having in each other's face over the red flag on the field that stopped the game. I think the Founding Fathers would approve :-)

    Having traveled extensively throughout Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, and Australia since 1961, I have been in awe of enlightened and civilized countries such as France, Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Canada, and Australia whose universal health care plans have put our United States to shame. How can we refer to our country as "the greatest in the world" when we have failed miserably to adequately provide for the health care of millions of our citizens? Now, if ever, is the time to make changes and at last get it right.

    As many know, HR676 is perhaps the most viable solution, the "real" public option. Here is a note from co-author Dennis Kucinich, July 15, 2009

    Healthcare: Change the Debate
    Support a Real Public Option

    Dear Friends,

    In mid-May, in an effort to reach consensus, President Obama secured a deal with the health insurance companies to trim 1.5% of their costs each year for ten years saving a total of $2 trillion dollars, which would be reprogrammed into healthcare. Just two days after the announcement at the White House the insurance companies reneged on the deal which was designed to protect and increase their revenue at least 35%

    The insurance companies reneged on the deal because they refuse any restraint on increasing premiums, copays and deductibles - core to their profits. No wonder a recent USA Today poll found that only four percent of Americans trust insurance companies. This is within the margin of error, which means it is possible that NO ONE TRUSTS insurance companies.

    Then why does Congress trust the insurance companies? Yesterday HR 3200 "America's Affordable Health Choices Act," a 1000 page bill was delivered to members. The title of the bill raises a question: "Affordable" for whom?.

    Of $2.4 trillion spent annually for health care in America, fully $800 billion goes for the activities of the for-profit insurer-based system. This means one of every three health care dollars is siphoned off for corporate profits, stock options, executive salaries, advertising, marketing and the cost of paper work, (which can be anywhere between 15 - 35% in the private sector as compared to Medicare, the single payer plan which has only 3% administrative costs).

    50 million Americans are uninsured and another 50 million are under insured while for-profit insurance companies divert precious health care dollars to non-health care purposes. Eliminate the for-profit health care system and its extraordinary overhead, put the money into healthcare and everyone will be covered, everyone will be able to afford health care.

    Today three committees will begin marking up and amending HR3200. In this, one of the most momentous public policy debates in the past 70 years, single payer, the only viable "public option," the one that makes sound business sense, controls costs and covers everyone was taken off the table.

    In contrast to HR3200 ... HR676 calls for a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, Medicare for All. It has over 85 co-sponsors in Congress with the support of millions of Americans and countless physicians and nurses. How does HR-676 control costs and cover everyone? It cuts out the for-profit middle men and delivers care directly to consumers and Medicare acts as the single payer of bills. It also recognizes that under the current system for-profit insurance companies make money NOT providing health care.

    This week is the time to break the hold which the insurance companies have on our political process. Tell Congress to stand up to the insurance companies. Ask members to sign on to the only real public option, HR 676, a single-payer healthcare system.

    Hundreds of local labor unions, thousands of physicians and millions of Americans are standing behind us. With a draft of HR3200 now circulating, It is up to each and every one of us to organize and rally for the cause of single-payer healthcare. Change the debate. Now is the time.

    The time to act is now!

    Contact us at feedback@kucinich.us

    The President should go for the Single Payer Option and tell the American people why some of their Congressman and Senators that are paid off by the Insurance Lobbyist by campaign contributions are opposing the Public Option. And threaten to name and to campaign against all the elected Representatives that are Serving Large Corporate Interests as opposed to serving the best interests of their constituents and ask the electorates to vote these folks out of office at the midterm elections! That would give President Obama a stronger Leadership image and it would give these corrupt self serving DC Representatives something to think about! Its time to openly expose these crooks, their motives and their paymasters! That would be a REAL CHANGE WE COULD ALL BELIEVE IN to give substance and meaning to the Obama campaign slogan "YES WE CAN!"

    We can’t get rid of Medicare, we can’t get rid of health insurance companies and we can’t get rid of the self-insured part of our healthcare system. We are stuck with having to make our system of public, private and self-insured work. And it’s not the massively difficult problem that people are making it out to be.

    The people who started this country had much bigger problems to solve. Without any of our modern communication systems or modern technology they had to fight and win the Revolutionary War and then design and implement a new form of government that would work. Our healthcare problem is a tiny little problem if you compare it to the problems faced by the Founders.

    We want America to be the superpower of medical care. Well, how did this nation start on the path to become an economic superpower? The nation started with a design founded upon the ideas of individual liberty and opportunity combined with checks and balances on power. Our healthcare system is a mess because nobody designed it; it just happened and evolved over time. And we never got around to balancing the power structure.

    Money is power in the healthcare game. The insurance companies have lots of money and so they have lots of power; people don’t. So the system is out of balance. People need control of money and the more money they can control the more power they gain. There are lots of ways to bring things into better balance. Here’s one way to start:

    1. Give people the healthcare deal that cars get.

    An employee, with a company car, has to pay income taxes on his $25 co-pay for a doctor visit. So the total out-of pocket bill for the employee is more than $30 when you include the taxes. But the company gets to deduct a $25 oil change for the care of the car and that’s nuts. People should get the tax deal that the cars get, a tax-free deal.

    The medical dollars we all spend need to be as close as possible to 100% efficient. When the government takes a 30% cut from my healthcare dollar then I am only left with 70 cents to spend. The simplest way to start giving people more money and power in the healthcare game is for the government to stop taking its cut from the healthcare dollars of citizens. We should make every dollar a person spends on healthcare or health insurance 100% tax-free regardless of that citizen’s income level.

    2. Let individuals start their own greedy health insurance company and let lots of greedy corporations into the healthcare game.

    Most people already qualify as being at least partially self-insured. Co-pays and deductibles are self-insurance. But people aren't given the opportunity to run their little self-insurance company like the big boys do. People need to be able to bank and invest so they can grow their self-insurance company; they need to have control of money because money is power.

    We should give people the opportunity to open tax-free medical/retirement savings accounts. The money put in and the interest gained should be tax-free. These accounts need to be more than just the usual medical savings accounts. We all need to be able to win financially in the healthcare game and pass those winnings on to our children and grandchildren.

    The rules for these accounts should be set up so that it changes the political dynamics and balances power simultaneously. People should be allowed to set up those tax-free accounts with a variety of financial institutions and health insurers as well. Then the health insurance companies are forced to compete and battle to manage the funds in those accounts.

    Health insurance companies use their money and power to put up obstacles to healthcare reform. To win the political battle with the insurers we need to do what the Founders did. We need to enlist the aid of powerful allies; in our case, greedy corporations that will battle the insurers with us. Lots of financial institutions would jump at the chance to manage those medical/retirement accounts and they would politically support the idea. In that way the health insurers would have to battle in the political arena with equally powerful adversaries that are allied with us.

    If the TV show “America’s Got Talent” had a healthcare plan version where the contestants submit plans for healthcare reform then the show would follow a predictable pattern. At first, there would be plans that imitated the healthcare systems from across the globe. But as the season progressed, and the plans were refined, the foreign imitations would get weeded out. The plans that would have the greatest following and the best chance of winning the competition would be the plans that were based on the value system that America was founded on. The finals would consist mostly of plans that would give individuals great liberty and opportunity while putting checks and balances on power.

    Our healthcare problem is not large; we are small. If we Lilliputians want to get a better view and solve the healthcare problem then we should stand on the shoulders of the giants who started this nation and use their ideas as our blueprints for reform.

    I think the relationship between lobbyists and congress is very destructive. Even though we vote for our reps they turn around and work for special interests who are not interested in the health, safety or welfare of any of us. I for one will stop voting for a rep who is not working for me. I will vote for someone else.

    Thank you for your pithy and poignant program featuring Mr. Potter. In some ways I am shocked at myself that I did not understand before what the Health Insurance Companies are: businesses serving the interests of their shareholders first. Why was I expecting them to try to help people get the care they need if it means less profit for them? Their goals of denying services and rescinding them makes sense from
    a business perspective.

    Clearly, what we need is the profit motive out of health care. Health care needs to be seen as a human rights issue. Health care is something all citizens deserve.

    This, however, will not happen when budgets include 30 percent or more for marketing, executive salaries, lobbyist salaries and money paid to others whose goal is to prevent customers from getting health care!

    Thank you Mr. Potter for making this so abundantly clear to me. I will certainly be at the rally for Single Payer on July 30 in Washington. It might not happen this year, but I think the tide is turning as more of us understand how unhealthy, unfair and ineffective providing health care through for profit groups is.

    I remember Susan B Anthony' words, "failure is impossible" regarding the sufferage movement. Her energy and work paved the way for the eventual triumph of this human rights goal, even though Anthony did not live to see it.

    To those who say Single Payer is an unattainable goal, I say that, again, failure is impossible. History is on our side in the apparently unending struggle for justice.

    Please keep disturbing and enlightening us in these important ways, Mr. Moyers.

    -Pamela Mercier

    Thank you Bill Moyers for a very enlightening program on Health Care.
    I think you nailed it.
    If the people do not get an option that sets them free of these insurance companies and Wall St.then I really believe hell is going to rise in the United States. Americans are not going to roll over this time. Too many have lost too much. People are really angry after watching the massive amounts of money wasted in Iraq. The billions that just disappeared and then this phony bail-out. No they are not going to take it anymore. Universal health care is our right. We just have to take it.

    Matt the president's not listening. He has sold the country out too the special interest. The banks, wall street, insurance and pharmaceutical corporations.

    Read today's headlines about Goldman Sachs, how is it possible for a company like this to be almost broke a few months ago and now they are doing so well? Well they used a lot of our tax dollars, billions to be exact. They run the show by the way.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/business/15goldman.html?hp


    This is interesting:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/22/report_goldman_sachs_on_pace_to

    I sent a personal Letter to Obama some time ago, and have made it public. I think the comments to him are worth repeating here:

    "Dear President Obama,

    You ran on a platform of hope and change. You had the audacity to tell us that you were going to bring something fresh and new to Washington. We have heard such promises before. We know that they are usually lies to dupe the public. But we believed in you sir; we needed to believe in you. After eight years of a criminal administration, we craved a leadership who understood us and who really cared. To many of us you seemed to be that leader. On election night we cheered, and after long years of hanging our heads we were finally able to raise them. We were, at last, proud to be Americans.

    Perhaps, sir, you still are that man. I hope so. But I confess I have yet to see any real change, and sadly I have not seen much audacity or hope either. Your stimulus bill was too small - you crafted it to win Republican votes - as if bipartisanship is somehow intrinsically good. Despite your repeated claim to be a "fierce advocate" of gay rights, you have done nothing for gay people. Your bank regulations are appallingly weak, your so-called "sweeping" environmental bill is so below what scientists are calling for that it is practically useless, your foreign policy does not differ in substance from your predecessor's, and you have maintained numerous Bush policies regarding secrecy and executive unaccountability. I fail to see the change here sir. Many of us do.

    Nevertheless, Mr. President, we all told ourselves that you could only do so much. We knew that you inherited a bad situation and we accepted that compromises had to be made - even as we did not like it. Many of us told ourselves that you would still come through on the most important domestic issue yet: Health Care reform.

    Your ideas about how to fix health care have not disappointed. You correctly and cogently defend the logic of a public health care plan. The goal of private health insurance is profits; huge profits. To make huge profits in health insurance one must constantly raise premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, while in turn avoiding actually covering people whenever and however possible. A public plan will offer full coverage and a better price and force private insurance to do the same or perish. This is the only way to fix our broken and cruel health care system.

    And now Mr. President we come to the heart of the matter. Both you and your people have now repeated several times the claim that, though you want a public option as part of health care reform, you "will not insist on it" and will "draw no lines in the sand." You have expressed your desire to make the reform pleasing to big insurance companies and Republicans - the very people that oppose any real reform of the system!

    Mr. President, why have you done this? Why are you so committed to compromise at all costs? You know there is no way to fix health care without a public option! What you have done is let the vested interests and their vassals in congress know that you will accept a bill with no public option. In other words sir, you are open to stopping real health care reform. Would Martin Luther king Jr have refused to "draw a line in the sand" about civil rights? Would Lincoln "not insist" on preserving the union?

    Over fifty million Americans are now without insurance. Many millions more are denied coverage left and right by the insurance they have, nearly two thirds of bankruptcies, and many home foreclosures are the direct result of medical bills. Private insurance companies are taking people's homes, their health, their savings, their very lives. If you wish to compromise Mr. President, remember this ... YOU ARE COMPROMISING PEOPLE'S LIVES!!! You are refusing to "draw a line" for the well-being of people who elected you and believe in you. You are "not insisting" that people live and prosper.

    Mr. President please stop being "open" about this. Please - at least this time, on this issue - don't compromise.

    In the name of justice, compassion, and basic human dignity: PLEASE MR. PRESIDENT DRAW A LINE AND STAND FIRMLY IN FRONT OF IT!"

    Universal care is the goal.

    Therefore, changing the incentives away from fee-for-service to end health care cost inflation is the necessary step.

    Since Universal care will fail without the right incentives.

    Congress needs to know we actually care enough to write.

    It's time to write your rerepresentatives

    :

    http://findingourdream.blogspot.com/2009/07/write-your-congressperson-and-senators.html

    Just want to thank you for having Wendell Potter on your show. I now know that before God judges a nation He always gives them a chance to do the right thing. Now if only President Barack Hussein Obama will fire all of the corrupt people he has around him and do the right thing for our Nation. Otherwise America is glorying in her shame.

    Thanks

    1. Wendell Potter should receive the Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for coming clean and helping so many Americans learn what the truth is and why for profit health insurance plans should be banished or turned into public utilities.

    2. Bill Moyers should present the award.

    Thanks to both of you.

    I have just returned to the U.S. after twenty years living and owning a business in Canada. Their health system is far from perfect but does one valuable thing. No one in Canada has to worry about amassing debt for getting sick. Hospitals are privately or provincially owned. The government provides funding for basic care. The insurance companies are allowed to participate and profit by providing supplemental coverage for everything not covered by universal heath care. Simple and everybody get what they need.

    Any enterprise that is "for profit" introduces a gaming aspect, in one way or another, into the enterprise.

    Let's take a cue from sports. Blow the whistle, throw a flag on the field, and stop the game.

    The CEO of United Health Care gave himself a 1.8 BILLION dollar package in 2005. They're spending ONE MILLION dollars a day to snow us under with CHERRY-PICKED DATA.

    I have a TV business channel droning on in the background and they are spinning again - acting like putting off a "reform" in "health care" is the smartest thing to do in this economy. They won't tell you that they realized that if you are going to put 50 year olds on an extended period of unemployment or underemployment so that their SS payments after they turn 65 are lowered, you can't turn around and have a "government" health care plan that fills in for their income loss. How can you STAY a billionnaire if people in their 60s go to the dentist as needed? I just bought a ticket to fly to my family in Europe to get a couple of the silver fillings that were put in when I was 19 taken out. Hey, they lasted a really long time! :-)) Think about it, even putting out for an international flight is CHEAPER than getting it done in the USA.

    I had a reasonable health care insurance premium when I was 20-something. It was called "catastrophic" - to cover something tragic like an accident or an adverse reaction to pollution exposure in industry.

    There ARE groupings in our country's demographics. Not everyone has life long chronic disease! Co-ops of coverage should be constructed according to the demographic groupings.

    EVERY aspect of the medical industrial complex is completely twisted.

    The gang who concocted a business model providing "Temporary" professionals to hospital and pharma profited enough, like pimps do, for the owner to buy himself a football team. Skimming off the HOURLY wages of nurses got him what he wanted.

    Blow the whistle, throw a penalty flag on the field, and STOP THE GAMING. Enough.

    Seriously, enough.

    This man's shock, and the realization that followed it, is something I wish for the titans of Wall St., and indeed for many trapped in the fearful, delusory world of corporate America.

    I just watched Republican Rep Paul Roskam on Washington Journal. He successfully dodged the question "Would you give up your government, taxpayer funded insurance.
    Let's all of us do what we can to get those who vote against single payer to drop their government, taxpayer paid insurance.
    And might I point out again that in Bill Moyers segment on this on July 10,2009, it was so clear who had access to our government. Who was standing in the hot sun protesting and trying to get their voices heard? (the People) and who was going through the doors of Congress freely?(the lobbyist) Biden was right.

    I missed your show the other night regarding health care and the employee from Cigna. However, I was working for McLaren Hospital for close to 15 years until Feb 22,2007 when I went out on medical leave for cancer. I was first diagnosed in Oct 2004, went off work for 9 months and went back. I had to fight to keep my Cobra after just 90 days being off. Thank God for my co-workers who put together money each month to pay for my Cobra. I was re-diagnosed in Nov 2006 with metastases to my bones, which is terminal. I went out of work again-I had worked 12 months-McLaren would not hire me back part time and terminated me without my knowledge. I now have Medicaid and a $553/month spendown deductible which has to be met until I can have the Medicaid turned on, or I can't get any prescriptions. So, every month after my treatment (well over $2000) I have to ask the biller to fax the charges over to my caseworker, then about a week later my coverage is turned on. Every month I go through this. I will be eligible for Medicare Aug 1,2009, and then they will take $96.40 out of my Social Security Disability each month (the caseworker hasn't done the QMB program for me yet).I get $960/month. I just lost my home to "short sale" which sold for $45,000. I owed over $108,000 still. Thank God for Fifth Third Bank which worked with me as long as they could. Now I have an apartment to rent for $600/month and have to also pay electric and gas. I'm all for Universal Health care. What's it going to take to get this done? I cannot believe how the drug companies and insurance companies have profited. Everything is all politics and the public doesn't know everything. Thank God for people like Michael Moore-who researches his behind off-and lets us know what is REALLY going on here. It's all about money and greed. I'm sick of it. Used to be great to be in America, now....let's just say I wish I lived in France!!

    This is such a simple issue! Under-regulated capitalism is the culprit here. No one questions the value of environmental regulation of industry, or the value of common sense safety regulations. Our most recent experience with under-regulated Wall Street activity should have taught us that capitalism can't be trusted to regulate itself (Ayn Rand notwithstanding).

    Why is it so hard to accept the premise that more needs to be done to regulate the health care insurance industry effectively? Nationalized medicine works, and should be the ultimate goal of regulating the private health care industry.

    One way to do that would be to adopt many of the controls recently imposed on Wall Street. Imposing those controls concurrently with an initiating incremental conversion from private to public health care (yes, socialized medicine, if you will) would be my preference. Incremental conversion can be accomplished by creating a health care trust that is funded by private health care profits (i.e., higher profits trigger higher contributions into the trust fund). The trust fund assets would eventually be used to purchase the private health care organizations after adequate notice. This two-pronged approach would do the job.

    # Do you agree with Wendell Potter’s view that the health insurance industry’s pursuit of profit has hurt patients? Why or why not?

    Yes. Insurance companies care first about profit,rather than the health of the patient. Private insurance grows fat off the sickness of patients. The less they have to pay, the higher their profits. It's disgusting.

    # Do you support a “public option” for health insurance to compete with private plans? If so, are you concerned about the objections raised by Wolfe and/or Randazzo?

    I'm not concerned at all. Medicare runs wonderfully, and if anything, only needs additional funding. Single payer is about the government managing the billing process. It's not about government intervening in a doctor's decision about what is best for the patient. The Republican party and the right wing of this country use gestapo scare tactics to frighten Americans about government's role in a single payer system. A single payer option is the most humane option possible. It allows for private competition among doctors who earn a SALARY and the taxpayer pays the bill. It is the most effective and humanitarian method of dispensing healthcare.

    C'mon people, don't be so agitated on the issue. Within the next 10-15 years China will buy this country outright... so everybody will have government-run insurance!
    Think I am crazy?.. I wish I were!

    What about the excellent health care coverage that the members of Congress enjoy? I don't hear them squawking about "government takeover" here. If it's good enough for the U.S. Congress then it should be good enough for all of us. Who speaks for the working poor in this country? And why isn't single payer coverage even on the table?Arnold Renland also has some very cogent things to say about the health care industry.
    Thank you.

    JOIN US -- JULY 30TH --FOR THE SINGLE PAYER RALLY AND LOBBY DAY IN WASHINGTON, DC.

    Join your fellow Americans on July 30th in Washington, DC to show Congress and President Obama that we support a national, single-payer healthcare system and demand the passage of HR 676.

    Single Payer Rally and Lobby Day in Washington, DC, July 30th. See more information here: http://www.healthcare-now.org/campaigns/single-payer-rally/

    Please download the flyer and post it everywhere: http://www.healthcare-now.org/docs/july30.pdf

    Our fight for equal access to healthcare for all is about democracy, freedom, human rights, civil rights, and basic human decency.

    SPREAD THE WORD! TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW!

    Sign this petition to the DNC

    http://bit.ly/to_the_dnc

    Please sign these petitions on single payer health care.

    http://bit.ly/single_payer_baucus

    http://bit.ly/single_payer

    Also sign these petitions.

    http://bit.ly/EFCA

    http://bit.ly/10_an_hour_min_wage

    http://bit.ly/women_freedom_of_choice_act

    I've read several mentions of the issue of the hard working people not having access to health care because they can't afford it; that a national plan would provide for them. Well, the hard working people will continue working hard for LESS. Just as now, laziness, apathy and the idea that 'they owe me' will rule the day. This behavior will be rewarded more than ever and the hard working middle class people will continue to be squeezed even tighter.
    We do need to help those who are productive members of society but it won't happen. The cut-off will be about 150% of poverty level and those who make over that, most of us, will see our taxes drastically increase to meet the needs of those who chose not to work or contribute and see any healthcare access we have disappear.

    Government can 'fix' our problems and save us??? Obama said it himself,[part] of GMs financial problems was paying for healthcare coverage for its current and former employees.' If providing that coverage can cause a company like GM to collapse, what do you think providing coverage to millions of people would do to our country?
    Ask Moore why so many Canadian RNs come to the US to work? It's because the govt system caused massive healthcare job losses. I know, I work w/ lots of them.
    On the uninsured, yes, it is correct that roughly 20 million of them CHOOSE to not be insured. No reason to be because they already know that, if they come to the hospital, they have to be seen/cared for regardless. Our hospital provided $100mil in free care last year.
    Make sure you check both/all sides of the healthcare issue.

    It is beyond belief that a country that has always claimed to be "the land of opportunity" has now become so backward and "third world" in the way it treats the hardworking, honest people who make up the majority of its citizens, who do most of the work, ask the simplest in rewards and are treated with so such contempt by the power elite. Where is this so-called freedom? The freedom to do what? To have no access to health care? To give all our modest life savings to make already obscenely wealthy CEO's of banks and
    "health" insurance companies and bought off elected officicals even more obscenely wealthy? Is this the new slavery of the increasingly impoverished and denied working poor, who not only have lost half our life savings but can't even get health care? What kind of country is this?

    The French have a better health care system than us, better child care, free schools and universities and 5 weeks off paid vacations even for part time workers.

    They have little or no debt, seem eat very well and are a society that really have family values. Not to say they don't have their problems, they do.

    One more thing they only work a 35 hour week and are more productive then we are. It's amazing how some Americans will dump on European countries demonize them and yet they seem so much more compassionate then we are.

    It was interesting in Sicko Moore says the the French government is afraid of the population and here in the US we are afraid of our government.

    I'm thinking of taking French lessons.

    Unbelievable and very frightening. We have to make our voices heard for the Public Option -- Don't let the Lobbyists and Healthcare industry frighten us AGAIN.!

    I believe Sandy Dean's comment on this blog should be sent out to every senator and person in congress.

    As I wrote on another blog, the closing comments by Mr. Moyers on this program stirred me down to my soul.

    I would like to see all health benefits suspended to members of the senate and congress until we, the people, get a single payer option. PERIOD!

    As Sandy Dean, a nurse who commented here said, we diagnose ourselves. Hey, I just did. Spent a fortune on deductables, bloodwork, and ultrasounds, and came up with nothing. I don't even know WHY I have a primary care doctor. There was no follow-up, just a call from his staff that said if I still wanted to see a specialist for my discomfort, call and they'd give me some names. SURE, SURE....want to make certain I'll go to one affiliated with their factory. This will be the fifth primary care doctor I've had in ten years. The wellness exam covered by our insurance is as bare bones as, breath in, okay now breathe out. Thanks, that'll be $200.

    Also, just lost a sister who had no insurance, waited too long to see a doctor for a lump on her throat, and died in Hospice a month after she finally got a biopsy.

    In closing, WALTER, who left a nasty comment here, Bill Moyers is a national treasure. If there was a hell, it would be found in hospitals all over this country. I'd be interested to hear more of your background. Bill wrote speeches for Johnson, they are both from Texas, but that's where the similiarities end.

    You are part of the problem. You offer only fear, and toxic lies, which are off topic, to boot.

    We now know the inside edition, that was kept a secret, until Wendel Potter spells it out.

    The only disadvantage we have is the Rich Republican party and their LOBBYISTS.

    All those sick people who came to be treated in that little town were mostly white and from the south.

    They should be voting for OBAMA.

    IF OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE A FREE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM WHY NOT THE usa.

    My last post didn't get posted. ??? But, I discovered I posted an incorrect link. The place to get to Youtube videos on HR676 is http://www.hr676.org/index.html
    I recommend also viewing: HR676-The Single Payer Solution parts 1-4. Just type that into the Youtube search.

    Other sites I recommended were: http://www.healthcare-now.org and http://www.singlepayeraction.org

    There are lots of places to make your voice heard by signing petitions or writing letters. Another is: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

    Now's the time.

    Medicare for Everyone
    Arguments for a Proposition

    The simple proposition is this: The solution to the acknowledged American healthcare crises is single-payer national health insurance.

    This is the solution, embraced by millions of Americans and repeatedly introduced as bills in Congress, which is never seriously talked about in public forums.

    The detailed proposition is this: Modify the coverage of Medicare to make it suitable to be the only health, dental, long term care, and pharmaceutical insurance coverage provided by the government of the United States to it’s domestic civilian employees, civilian and military retirees, and to Federal officeholders; then provide Medicare to these groups as their sole employer provided health insurance program. Finally enroll every US citizen and legal resident in the program.

    What are the arguments against this? Each is followed by an answer.

    1. It will cost too much.

    This is completely wrong. Medicare for Everyone will save hundreds of billions of dollars from the national healthcare bill.

    There are five points to be made here:

    The first is that Government has already bitten off 70% of the costs, how indigestible is the remainder?

    The share of American healthcare costs presently underwritten by all levels of government approaches 70% today. (Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein put it just under 60% in 1999. See their paper “Paying For National Health Insurance-And Not Getting IT”.) In truth we have a government paid for healthcare system today; a broken system which seemingly exists to enrich some wealthy players at the expense of the rest of our economy and citizens. Our government healthcare spending per capita, with all levels of government and all means of expenditure added together, is already higher than the sum of total per capita government and private spending in all countries with universal healthcare systems.

    This is not what you hear, but it is true. Medicare and Medicaid account for about 1/3 of healthcare spending. Then there are the vast sums channeled through for-profit private insurance companies to cover Federal, State, and local employees and retirees and their families. There is the chain of hospitals maintained by the Veteran’s administration, the clinics of the Indian Health Service, State and Municipal hospitals, and County Health Departments. Local, State, and Federal direct subsidies flow to various hospitals that offer indigent care.

    Larger than most of these costs are the tax forgiveness subsidies that go to those whose employer offers health insurance and/or flexible health spending accounts. Perniciously the value of this subsidy for individuals is greater at higher incomes than at lower incomes and greater for companies with millions in profits than for those with thousands. (In the case of my family, with all wages from private employers, the tax forgiveness subsidy amounts to 47.3% of our healthcare costs, and we are far from being in the highest income tax brackets.)

    Also, even in countries with single-payer systems or other forms of national healthcare, the government doesn’t cover everything. Small co-pays are probably reasonable to expect. Seventy year olds wanting to look thirty-nine and aspiring actresses desiring nose jobs will still have to pay out of their own pockets. The government might pay for the cheapest possible eyeglasses, but not for designer frames, progressive lenses, or contacts. You will usually have to buy your own Band-Aids and rubbing alcohol. (Strangely, if you have a high income and an FSA, government in the US presently will pay for half or more of the cost of such items.) The point is that a single payer system only needs to pay for 85 to 90% of the total healthcare bill. We are almost there already; it is just that the income and payment streams are fractured through multiple programs, multiple levels of government, and the tax code.

    Secondly, let’s think about the cost of insuring the uninsured.

    The uninsured consist of several categories. The largest category probably consists of relatively young, relatively healthy people. The cost of insuring these people is, relatively speaking, nothing.

    The smallest group of the uninsured might be people so rich that no prospective healthcare cost is so large as to induce them to worry about insurance. It would be churlish to leave these rich folks uninsured when we plan to jack up their taxes in the name of paying for the system.

    The next largest group of the uninsured are people who need healthcare and are just managing to get by, paying their own way. A lot of providers will help out by reducing fees or stretching out payments for these unfortunates. They may exist one illness or one unsympathetic provider away from financial ruin. Once they lose their life-savings they may well enter the ranks of the insured on the back of Medicaid. (This has proved a far more effective mechanism for denying family farms and family businesses to heirs than any estate tax.)

    It looks like the main cost associated with insuring the uninsured might be losing the revenue generated by bankrupting some of them and disinheriting their children. Surely we could make up for this by reinstating an effective estate tax on multi-millionaires.

    Thirdly, what about the savings resulting from a single-payer insurance program?

    It is an unfortunate fact of life that cutting costs usually means cutting people off of payrolls. In the case of the healthcare industry we have about 16 million employees. Of these something like 2.5 million work for the private health insurance industry, largely in the role of denying or delaying payments to providers. Another 3 million or so are employed by healthcare providers mostly to try to pry payment out of the insurance companies. Americans are, in effect, paying 2.5 million people to dig holes and at least an equal number to fill them in.

    Of course, Medicare for everyone means more Federal employees to replace the private health insurance employees. A rough calculation indicates that another 250,000 Federal Medicare employees would probably do the job the 2,500,000 private health insurance employees do. At the same time all State and Federal Medicaid jobs would go away, so total government employment might not increase at all. It looks like 2.5 million ditch diggers can go.

    For providers the task of obtaining payment would become infinitely easier with only one insurance program to deal with instead of thousands. Let us say that 2.5 million people could be released from the ditch filling-in jobs.

    While it is unfortunate that nearly 5 million parasitic paper-pushers will be without work, they will have something that unemployed textile, steel, auto, and machinery workers never got, reliable and free health insurance.

    Considering facilities costs and profits generated, throwing these people into the ranks of the unemployed would save about $400 to $500 billion/yr off of our healthcare costs. This is something like 10 times what is bandied about as needed to cover the uninsured.

    Fourthly, Medicare will be in a position to very, very seriously negotiate the price of goods and services.

    This is what scares the big pharmaceutical companies; they want prices to remain higher here than in Canada.

    Fifthly, freed from the health insurance predator, the rest of the economy can boom creating vast amounts of new wealth and tax revenue.

    The smallest part of the boom will come from the relief provided to existing employers. Big employers will no longer have such an incentive to move that employment overseas. American manufacturing should benefit enormously.

    This benefit to existing employers is aside from the distractions attendant to managing private insurance programs. My guess is at least a quarter-million man-years/year is spent by private employers to shop for and administer private health insurance plans. But it is not just the $25 Billion or so out of pocket that hurts; it is the time spent on such topics by people who should be worrying about running their business.

    The biggest part of the boom will come from those trapped in jobs below their potential by the need for insurance. It will come from the sudden willingness of companies to hire someone 60 years old. Most importantly, it will come from those now freed to follow an entrepreneurial impulse.

    2. This is Socialism.

    Well no, it is not. It is no more socialism than having the government own and run the highways, the courts, the police, the fire department, or the army and navy. The government runs these things because private arrangements are inefficient, unethical, counter to the general interests of the public, or just stupid. In the course of history, private arrangements have been tried for most or all of these services.

    We have tried letting private health insurance companies run things for 50 years. This experiment has proven that market forces may work to enrich insurance companies, but they do not serve the needs of people in need of healthcare.

    Some people try to paint the Founding Fathers as huge proponents of market capitalism. They were not. They were proponents of personal liberty. They were just as much against the monopoly power of the East India Company as the power of the Crown and Parliament. Private companies are not people, no matter how much cash they donate to political causes.

    When markets work, capitalism is a wonderfully good thing for society. But where markets do not work, it is counterproductive to pretend that they do. Such is the case with the healthcare industry in general, and especially with the health insurance industry. Most people do not know what maladies will strike them next or when. There is no public information on true costs. Anyway, when a person is sick or injured, he is in no position to shop. Therefore, it is impossible to make rational market based healthcare decisions about much more than which brand of antibiotic ointment one buys.

    Where the choice is between a privately run oligarchy with virtual monopoly power and public provision of the service, it is sanity not socialism to chose the later. The least invasive way to fix the healthcare problem is to allow the present network of private and public providers of actual medical services to continue unmolested while replacing the private health insurers with a single-payer system.

    This will reduce Choice:

    Single-payer national health insurance means far more real and important choices for more people.

    As an employee who receives quite good and very expensive (the total cost is $15,664/yr for a family in 2009) health insurance through his private employer I can tell you from personal experience that:
    a. I have no choice as to which insurance company provides my insurance.
    b. I do not know with certainty whether a given procedure, provider, drug, or service will be covered or what the cost will be. The statements in employer and insurance company handouts do not constitute guarantees.
    c. Settlement of claims of even the most straightforward nature can take months. Recently a simple claim amounting to $170 was settled in my favor after six months, three filings, and five or six telephone calls.
    d. Beyond complaining to my employer, I have no recourse in settling disputes aside from the ridiculous option of suing my employer in Federal District Court. Most private employers with more than a few hundred employees are so-called “self-insured”. As such Federal law makes them immune from even the half-hearted regulation of the State Insurance Commissioner.
    e. Minimizing my healthcare expenses involves careful attention to detail, following the progress of claims, being tenacious with my insurance company, making sure that my doctor prescribes tests and drugs in the most favorable way, capturing receipts from drug stores, planning carefully the purchase of eyeglasses, and correctly guessing next year’s expenditures for my flexible spending account. In years with nothing special, like a birth or gall-bladder operation, at the very least a man-week of effort goes into paperwork on my own part.

    This seems a high price to pay for having to wait for age 65 to get Medicare, at which point this mythical “choice” ends anyway.

    As for Real Choice, real choice would mean being able to live my economic life without weighing the impact on healthcare. I have often considered going into business myself or of going to work for with a really small company. A prudent man over the age of forty with a family can not exercise such choices unless he is already wealthy.

    Single-payer Health Insurance means Rationing:

    It would mean less rationing than today.

    Every health insurance scheme means some kind of rationing. Today we ration by denying health care to those too poor, ill, dispirited, or befuddled to search out all the options. We ration it by insurance company delaying tactics. If the delay is long enough the patient dies and the problem goes away. The savings generated by eliminating the private health insurance industry are so great that we can offer to all, the profligate coverage we now give to most and still save money.

    W.S. Severance
    6/23/09

    People need to get oganized. Look for examples past the Atlantik/Pacific; force the government to do so, too.

    Netherlands, Belgium & Germany - multiple payers but with some single payer features:
    These countries have a type of single payer health care that employs a large central fund, largely hidden from public view, plus multiple funds that jointly pool their risk via this hidden fund. This operates through a process of risk equalization. Funding overall is via a mix of taxation and insurance premiums paid by the individual.

    For instance in Holland, each insurer sets its own premiums but has to provide at least one policy covering the national standard level of care but may also offer additional, less regulated policies over and above this, e.g. for prescription benefits. By law, insurers have to set the same price for all adults living in a given region regardless of the age and health status of the insured. They cannot refuse an applicant. All insurers can be compensated from a central risk equalization pool if the health care demands of the sum of their customers is higher than would be expected. The risk equalization pool is funded by health care levies on employees and employers, as well as from other taxes). Insurers may have to pay into the equalization pool if their customers' risk profile is below the norm. Thus, not withstanding the higher than normal cost of insuring the elderly and the sick for the same fixed premium, insuring these people becomes an attractive business proposition because of the additional transfers going on in the background. This risk sharing encourages insurers to compete by giving good customer service and by lowering their administration costs (so they can attract more premiums) and they will not attempt to penalize the elderly or the sick in the way they might otherwise have to do if the equalization pool was not there. Thus although there seems to be multiple funds, risks are mostly managed centrally and inefficiencies within an insurer soon show through in its pricing. The taxation element of funding ensures that people pay more when they are young and earning and the relatively wealthy helps to subsidize the health care costs of the relatively poor in society. This one of the key advantages of single payer systems supported with taxation. Health care pricing is mostly negotiated by the insurers with health care providers withing a region. Thus the insurers that negotiate the best prices will tend to be more profitable. This price competition is aimed at encouraging efficiencies in the provider sector. Because insurance is personal and not related to an employer, a person will never lose insurance if they change their job. An individual can always be assured of being insurable at the same rate as everyone else even if they have higher health costs than other people. Premium pricing is level at all ages. Changing insurers requires only the filing of one simple form. They can't deny accepting you, they can't kick you out. In Germany, for prescription drugs you have to pay additional 5% % of the drug, but no more than 10 EUR if it is an expensive one. Premium for insurance is 7,45%(14,9% on a 50-50 base employee/employer) which will be deducted from the monthly payroll.

    Please forward the URL for this program and for the short YouTube version to
    members of the US Senate Finance committee, and all
    other senators, for that
    matter. This is the most
    powerful statement against
    the idea that there is a
    middle ground position on
    health reform. We must have a public option.

    Brilliant job Messrs Moyers and Potter. Thank
    you.

    Posted by: Walter


    4) Remember - Bill Moyers was LBJ's speechwrite. Anyone who put the words into the mouth of one of the most evil presidents in the US can never be trusted. Don't forget, Moyers deserves a place in the ninth circle of Hell, just like Potter and McNamara.

    ...well, first you get rich, then you get holy. I try to go by what is said and not who says what. Thanks for the backgound info on Moyer.

    I don't trust him, but it was an interesting conversation . Watch "SICKO" again and learn.

    First, thank you Mr. Moyers!!! This is exactly what is needed to fight this fight. One more point though. If the opponents (especially republicans) think that there should be more tax cuts for corporations in order to spur job growth, why are they against something that would save corporations so much? It seems to me that if small/medium and large corporations were not burdened with high medical insurance costs then they would be able to create a helluva lot more jobs!

    I appreciate Mr Moyers' time on this topic but I think we are missing a huge point that health insurance is expensive because healthcare is expensive. By creating a public plan we aren't doing anything to fix the system; we are simply shifting costs to the government. This in turn shifts the cost right back to us.

    I propose we:
    1. Focus on legislation which prevents insurance monopolies and recissions.
    2. Medical malpractice reform
    3. Personal health responsibility. 50% of costs come from preventible diseases.
    4. Tax deductibiliy of individual insurance.
    5. Use of high-risk pool and improvement of current public plans.

    Our current public plans are a frighting indicator of what the proposed new public plan could be. Lets try and get Medicaid, Medicare, VA, Native American, SCHIP, and the countless other public options right first before we add on another component.

    Mr. Moyers thank you for presenting this important material. I hope that together we can save some lives and suffering.
    I just sent Senator Bill Nelson of Florida the following message and hope others will take similar action with their Congressperson and Senators.

    The Howard Dean website contains a list indicating support for a public healthcare option and I was disappointed to see you listed there as undecided. http://www.standwithdrdean.com/where_congress_stands?page=1

    We are seeking a solution to the inhumanity, loss of life and financial disaster caused by our healthcare system. Please provide written answers about your position on these questions:

    1. - Do you support a genuine public healthcare option that competes with private health insurers, accountable to our government, available everywhere, with unrestricted open-enrollment to any business or citizen choosing to participate?
    2. - Do you support a government public healthcare option that enables participants to select the physician and hospital of their choice?
    3. - Will you support a government public healthcare option and closure of Medicare’s doughnut loophole with government negotiated prices or other federally-imposed cost controls on pharmaceuticals to result in parity with other countries and benefit taxpayers?
    4. - As a senator with much experience you understand how essential Congressional Budget Office scoring is to comparing estimated costs of various health reform bills including single-payer (HR676 and S703). Since it’s the next crucial step toward an honest, transparent debate on cost effective, viable, sustainable, health care reforms do you plan to insist on CBO scoring of all proposals?
    5. - Do you agree that insurance is not healthcare; or do you support a mandate requiring individuals and businesses to purchase private for-profit insurance with taxpayer subsidies to corporate wealthcare?

    We prefer a single-payer plan but support a strong public healthcare option and we're concerned about the corrupting influence of the 1.4 million dollars per day being spent by lobbyists to defeat genuine reform. Groups like the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and Healthcare Leadership Council (an influential umbrella group representing a coalition of CEO's within American’s for-profit health industrial complex including pharmaceutical and private health insurance conglomerates such as Cigna and Aetna) are known for their conflicts of interest with the public. PhRMA opposed plans for Medicare that would result in government negotiated prices or other federally-imposed cost controls.

    We look to you to protect us from reform that results in private insurance wealthcare instead of people's healthcare. Please let anyone chose an affordable, government-run public healthcare option and protect us from a plan that resembles the dysfunctional homeowner's insurance in Florida. We look forward to your official reply and appreciate your consideration.

    Once more, an industry, and so typically one of the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate) group, hides behind "free markets" to defend their unconscionable practices and profits.

    They should pay attention to the foundation of their argument, for they are on unsupportable grounds.

    "Free market" strongly implies and REQUIRES competition. In fact, it requires perfect competition.

    These companies are manifestly monopolies, thus by definition more or less perfectly anti-competitive. In fact, any economic profit they derive is excessive and not justified by the very laws of economics they try to hide behind. Go read any introductory text.

    They should be subject to the full force of the anti-trust legislation we have available to us.

    Walter,--What was this evil brought forth by LBJ? The Civil Rights legislation of 1964? The direction toward stepping out of the overall oppressor-oppressed human affair that has been the deterrent to the expression of personal potential and happiness?

    I had just sent this latest appeal to the WH & the SD Rep & Senators yesterday - so when I saw Mr Moyers last night, I at least felt a little hope..but I know those working on the plans are still more like Mr Potter before he went to the fair. Our state took all our citizen protections from usuary away to make room for video lottery & predatory credit card & pay day loan companies. As if that isn't bad enough, one of the biggest profit takers in the credit card banking decides to donate millions of dollars of his ill gotten gains to one of our hospitals in exchange for his name on everything. He dictates the even more aggressive profit taking - sub standard care - big advertising - fancy buildings mentality..with biased national exposure. Our governor & our 1 Rep & 2 Senators on both sides of the aisle, claiming to serve their constituents, are serving Mr Sanford & the powers of the medical machine & lottery & credit -- not the people who are paying for all the above. They pretend to be saving our jobs by supporting the status quo but at what cost to our overall fiscal health & social responsiblity ?....I say there will be more credible jobs that will come with a physically & financially healthy economy.

    My letter yesterday to the powers that be:
    Health Care needs a New Foundation – not just another Patch on the Roof….the weight of 2 decades of patches is bringing the whole thing down on the patients.

    All the talk in the papers & news about health care reform and still no discussion of the extreme profits being taken out of the actual cost & delivery system . The heathcare cost system from Dr to clinic to hospital to insurance & drugs is mostly unaffordable because it is all about the high profits of the corporate machine on every level… these profits go in the pockets of people who have nothing to do with health and defininately nothing to do with care…..The entire system needs to focus on actual costs & quality care with fair & reasonable reimbursements not quadrupled to give some CEO a fat pay off or some Wall Street gambler a big pay day……If a test & machine to do it is viable & necessary – everyone should have access – but just to order it because you can is ridiculous & to withhold it solely due to cost is malpractice…Doctors need to practice good medicine – not just be middlemen for equipment & drug companies. Markups on actual unaltered costs at every level should be held to a reasonable level to control costs – beginning to end…much like charges to Medicare patients were held to a maximum of 15% above Medicare approved. .Not to say Medicare always pays the right amount on every test or procedure, but at least it sets a limit.

    Simplification of all costs education – drug – hospital – insurance, etc is the only choice..Otherwise – more choice is just more confusion & cost…..We aren’t talking about controlling the price of designer handbags -this is the health of a Nation at risk….

    As for patient choice – The patient has to self diagnose, choose their drugs & take all the physical & legal responsibility in the end now as it is…without benefit of the overpriced education to base those decisions on.

    We need more primary care physicians that actually see the patient and balance all the drugs & procedures handed out by the specialists. More lives are lost every day for lack of attention to the whole patient. Who decided that a primary is worth less than a specialist anyway ?? Clinics are being manned by PA’s etc without the patient every seeing the so called doctor of record and even when the patient goes to the hospital – they see whatever Dr is on call within his doctor’s entire system ..Very often never seeing again - his doctor of record…This is becoming the norm in South Dakota, so it is not just a big city or big state issue. The medical machine doesn’t want government or the tax payer anywhere near the dance – but want them to pay for the invitations, decorations, DJ, and punch & clean up & be the designated driver to get everybody home afterwards. They just want to collect the door fee, choose the music, and share in the drink tab and DJ fees…

    Patient records are only as useful as their accuracy and access….patients never get to see what gets written down and access is bogged down by a system bloated with cost of storage & delivery. Doctors rarely make appropriate use a patient’s history anyway. They either continue on a right or wrong path, rather than take time to look at the patient for themselves, or ignore all previous history, choosing to do it their way……regardless.
    The solutions are simple - but you can't have a heartless profit driven system and good affordable health care..Giving the Emperor a different set of "New Clothes" still leaves the Emperor in charge and 40 million uninsured - naked and the rest of us hanging on the edge of the physical & financial cliff..
    For all you medical machine as is supporters out there..where do you think the millions to fight reform is coming from?? Do you like being overcharged & under provided for? Do you think it right that medical providers & institutions have become the biggest group of estate heirs? You abhor government in health care but protect the insane notion that every state is entitled to its own idea of insurance & Medicaid policies...There has never been 50 different best case solutions to anything -- let alone politically motivated ones. We don't need more choice - we need better, clearer, good choices - we need them YESTERDAY....Sandy

    Several complaints about this program. 1) This info is not new. 2) Bill Moyers' spin machine is at its best. For example, Moyers helps Wendell Potter portray himself as symptomatic of the "insulated" top exec who really doesn't know the damage he caused. Hogwash. This is just another form of greenwashing. 3) The usual canard of investors DEMANDING the insurance companies have a low payment/loss ratio is just a red herring. The real problem is the insurance companies' inefficiencies. I worked for Blue Cross/Blue Shield for two years and their administrative costs are so high, they drive the amount of money paid out for claims, not the mythical hand of the stockmarket. 4) Remember - Bill Moyers was LBJ's speechwrite. Anyone who put the words into the mouth of one of the most evil presidents in the US can never be trusted. Don't forget, Moyers deserves a place in the ninth circle of Hell, just like Potter and McNamara.

    Sign this petition to the DNC

    http://bit.ly/to_the_dnc

    Please sign these petitions on single payer health care.

    http://bit.ly/single_payer_baucus

    http://bit.ly/single_payer

    Also sign these petitions.

    http://bit.ly/EFCA

    http://bit.ly/10_an_hour_min_wage

    http://bit.ly/women_freedom_of_choice_act

    I am glad that there is ex-insiders of the health insurance companys confirming what most people suspect. I work at a Doctor's office doing insurance, some of the re-inbursements we get from the insurance companys, I want to say get a life folks. We as preferred providers have to accept these micro payments. So the health care providers and the patients are losers anyway you do it with health insurance. I have always call them the anti-Christs of our American system and Mr. Potter just proved how close I am to that comparison. I could go on and on with boring situations that I have had to endure talking to these insurance persons trying to get more for our patients. My physician does a lot of paperwork reductions to help these people to afford his services, but we still have to keep the lights on. I am for public/government run health care, Medicare does better than most public insurance companys. Judith

    Sorry, I lost track of who wrote this because of the blizzard of rationalizations posted here yesterday - but a poster wrote, in part, "So the list of hundreds of conditions that all the insurance companies use to deny people coverage from acne to cancer and even a mild form of autism, asperger's syndrome, diabetes both type one and two and many many more conditions are all the fault of the people who have them."

    This is the biggest mystery for me - how have the insurance companies NOT been sued for MEDICAL MALPRACTICE by the medical practicioners??!!

    Basically, cost savings in the current system can only be achieved through the medical malpractice of insurance company decision.

    It's a vicious circle...

    And all that money spent on computer technology for DATA management has produced a database with NON-scientific information! Hence the tragic damage done to the future. You need to know what is REAL to progress. The reasons for denying payment is not REAL.

    Don’t confuse single payer with public option. Public option is clearly a diversion from single payer. The biggest problem with public option is that allows the waste, inefficiency and greed of private health insurance companies to continue to exist at the expense of our health. Fair competition isn’t in the vocabulary of private insurance. You also simply won’t get the administrative savings with public option that you will get with single payer ($400 billion a year) to give every American access to health care. Expand Medicare to cover everyone. Only single public payer can do that.

    Bill,

    Kudos to you for this interview with Wendell Potter. The more Americans clearly see how their lives are negatively affected by the lobbyist - congress connection, the better.

    We need to heed Mr. Potter's commentary and find a way, as a people, to put the health and welfare of our citizenry above corporate profit.

    I was particularly struck by Mr. Potter's comments about how the health care industry attempted to discredit Michael Moore's movie "Sicko." That movie made me question the integrity of our media and why we are unable to hear the "real truths" on major news stations...with the glowing exception of PBS and NPR. Mr. Moore shows us how underinsured Americans can get better medical care in Cuba than they can in the United States. Need we say more?

    Thank you for having Wendell Potter on the Journal. Finally and honest look from an insider on the issues of health care. Our realities are that we have a system with our lawmakers that has an office to lobbyist tract, a need to be reelected, and no real consequences to their decisions. The people need to demand that our members of the House and Senate and their families are provided only with health care that is available to the public. If they face the same health issues the people do such as denial of care, they will make appropriate decisions and effective law. Our leaders will never put the people first, they will always put themselves and their own families as their highest priority. This is simply human nature. The people need to demand that the our leaders are governed by the same laws as the public and this includes healthcare.

    Thank you for having Wendell Potter on the Journal. Finally an insider's perspective. With the power of money, the office to lobbyist tract, and the need to be re-elected, I feel the only way to solve the health care crisis if for the people to demand that the House and Senate only get the health care that is available to the people. If it is not directly affecting the members of the House and Senate and their familys they will never be properly motivated to make the concerns and the health of the public a priority.

    Mark Etchieson, I think YOU ARE ON TO SOMETHING HERE !!!!!

    If everone dropped their health insurance coverage, as an ACT OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE [the Mahatma's famous ''non-cooperation'' method!] against Corporate FRAUD having been perpeterated on the citizens all these years, these Corporate Thieves & Traitors will have their BLOOD-MONEY-PROFIT-SPIGOT turned off, in no time !!

    It is BRILLIANT in its SIMPLICITY !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I disagree with these limited two predictions. I think those who have invested in insurance for profit companies want to continue to make profits, whether it is to deny coverage to the people who supposedly were covered for exactly that, or whatever. These arguements are designed to postpone any real solution being launched before the next presidential election, when the GOP will possibly again steal an election to make sure their status pro continues. Why would you simply give up such an incredible money maker that is completely under your control?

    The people have stated they want control of it. PUblic cooperatives are unlikely, in my opinion, to do anything much more than insurahce companies. They will operate on the same philosophies of denying care so they can balance the books. They are not capable of embracing an approach of earlier treatment is better because of litigation needs.

    If we fired the actuaries and the jerks whose jobs it is to deny cases, and instead gave people the healthcare they need without some huge nightmare then we the people will be better off.

    During these times of economic crisis, why would we the people wish to preserve incredible wealth and profits for a specific few who have actually pushed their responsibilities onto the public for gain?

    Many of the health problems that insurance companies deny do not go away. They go somewhere else and eventually are paid for in other ways, usually by taxpayers.

    People with brain injuries on the job who are unable to even get legal representation in Colorado don't really go away. OK, their husband leaves them and attempts to take the house and child, and the extended families abandon the brain injury case sometimes. Many brain injury workers lose their houses in foreclosure, become homeless and end up in prison.

    20 percent of people in prison are mentally ill. Each one costs $30K a year to taxpayers, and the department of corrections regime is happy to grow larger.

    This is rather disgusting while Pinnacol Assurance of Colorado retains a $2 billion reserve our Legislature seems to be unwilling or unable to grab, like it grabbed everybody else's money recently.

    In Colorado the worker's compensation division cost containment board is, by statute, completely dominated by special interest groups (insurance & employers) which violates federal case law in Hellebust v. Sam Brownback, the Kansas case that terminated the entire Kansas State Board of Agriculture.

    Such Colorado boards are UNAMERICAN because the public should have the right to vote for all seats, and without any seat being reserved for an occupation of any kind.

    I'm always intrigued by 'The Journal' - catch it most of the time here in the Twin Cities. This episode, however, kept making me check my gag reflex... Mind you I've worked in Group Health Insurance (for United Health Care)& am now in the P&C industry - I know 1st hand where Mr. Potter came from... I'm just not buying his trip to a county fair, in the South, as impetus for leaving Cigna's PR machine. It's way too convenient. Especially considering his background, his connections w/in the industry, and his current geographic proximity to the major industry players on the East Coast. Something just doesn't add up here. One related thought on the whole topic of Single Payor/Universal coverage - A great idea but it needs to be mulled over by 'THE PEOPLE', not by a select few officials in a conference room tucked away in the basement of Capitol Hill. I find it disturbing that we are not discussing CDHP, or setting the dial back to the 70's and 80's where consumers/patients controlled physician based cost of treatment and basically purchased Hospitalization coverage to help buffer the cost o major health events. Remember those days? Did anyone pay attention to the lobbying efforts of the Health Care industry back then as it morphed into the giant 'for profit' monster it has become today? I'm 36 and I remember the transition well. I'd also venture to guess, if consumers/patient were paying for their own medical visits, labs, and ancillary services, ['sans' PPO, HMO, EPO, and POS plans] costs for care would plummet and the playing field would become level. The current 'for profit' model would be forced to adapt and lower their own costs. This is just one facet of the Health Care conundrum/debate - it's not the only solution. I wish people would wake up... To pay for a National Healthplan, we're looking at an additional 2-5% tax rate (that's if the current fixed combined rate of 6+% stays level for Medicare and Social Security). So we're looking at 8+%-11+% combined tax rate for all 3 entitlement programs. The trick is, keeping the programs funded over the long haul - meaning we can't dip into them to pay for WARS and Pork Projects. So let's ask ourselves, do we want to pay into a system not knowing if the $$$ is going to be there to pay the bills in the future when we needs them (I'm already counting on Social Security being bankrupts by the time I'd become eligible), or do we want to take control of our own lives and drive our own health outcomes? Thanks...

    Secrecy by politicians is a given. Human nature as such is always trying to improve personal benefits be it wealth, power, or notoriety. Politicians by nature of their position are re-enforced every day that they are important and should derive compensation for that importance.

    Lacking checks and balances, politicians feel free to embrace political positions that are not beneficial for their constituents but very beneficial for their personal lives. Majority of politicians accept that premise and vote accordingly.

    Why does members of congress have far better health insurance than average Americans, simply because they make the rules . Democracy of the people by the people and for the people is a myth. Why do incumbents fight so hard to keep their district, simply to keep benefiting their personal goals.

    Why we don't have Universal Health Care, above, says it all.

    Is there a site where public protests/demonstrations are listed? I live in Dallas and am blind to any public action in support of Single Payer Universal Healthcare here.

    It would be nice to have a site (as a public service) that a group or organization could post a scheduled public action.

    It is annoying to be old and out of touch. If you think those of us in our sixties and older would not hit the streets with the rest of you, think again. We have children, grandchildren, friends, and colleges that would overwhelm a health fair here in Dallas.

    So I will ask again.

    Is there a site where public protests/demonstrations are listed?

    D. C. Eddy writes:

    "Anyone who has ever played the game Monopoly knows that only one person wins and everyone else loses. We need laws and enforcement of those laws to protect us from monopolies. Without a level playing field; it is all down hill for the victims of monopolies. There is no way the economy can provide the needed distribution of goods and services with out the equitable and just management of powerful vested interests."

    --------------------------------------------------------

    It is 'might that makes right' in our world. And the lawmakers with the might are corrupted, bribed and swayed by the lobbyists as Moyer's show confirmed.

    One change for the better would be for all conversations between lobbyists and the elected to be recorded.

    That way it could be made public what threats are being made and what agendas corporations are pushing or blocking. And the elected would have some defense against the negative ads run by the lobbyists.

    President Obama has already sold the American people out.
    He has already stated that single payer is off the table.

    What they are going to do is to make a plan like we have here in Massachusetts which requires everyone to have health insurance. Our system is breaking down at a rapid rate. This week one of the public hospitals announced it was having serious financial problems.

    This was a state institution that many of the poor and uninsured went to. The irony here is that when they instituted this "brilliant" plan they stopped funding the state hospitals. In short the robbed Peter to pay Paul.

    This is the plan Obama will be forcing on the American public. The other cute thing is that there will be no changes in co-pays, deductibles or any of the other obscene practices the insurance companies practice. They are looking forward to having the 50 million or so extra costumers, they dollar signs and huge bonuses in the next few years. Of course this plan will fail, most of these people will eventually be dropped, some will rather pay the fine which will be less then most of the premiums and it will be business as usual.

    The congress and the President will have photo ops and everyone will pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

    Mean while ordinary Americans will still go bankrupt from medical bills, and die from not being able to afford care.

    Obama is no better then Clinton, or Bush, in fact to me he's worse. He campaigned on the promise of bringing in single payer health care, or at least huge reforms.

    My list of things to change would be this:

    1:No one can be denied for anything. Put an end to laundry list of conditions.

    2: No deductibles.

    3: Insurance companies must lower cost by developing better administration procedures. Not having to have huge amounts of staff to deny coverage will be a good place to start.

    4: Make them non-profit.
    All health divisions of insurance companies will be non-profits. They can make money from car insurance and life.

    5: All pharmaceutical prices will be negotiated by the government and prices will be controlled as they are in other industrial countries.

    6: Dentistry has to be included in the insurance and cost controls need to be brought to bare on this bunch. These guys over charge so much, it's ridiculous.

    7: The ER and ambulance services need to be controlled, it's absurd that a ride in an ambulance can cost $4000 to $5000.

    Amigo....I think your barking up the wrong tree?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

    The 2009 ''Health Fair'' in Wise County, VA [or Remote Area Medical (RAM) Clinic, as we locals call it ] will be held on the weekend of July 25 - 27.

    As Mr Potter mentioned, the POTUS and the Congress should hold a Town Hall meeting on the groungs that weekend, to get a ''feel'' for what is going on in 'Real America' !!

    Everyone on this blog, please write/call the WH and Congress to attend the ''festivities'' of this great annual three day event; garunteed to be an unforgettable experience; and tell them it is FREE !!

    For those of you interested in peaceful demonstrations in D.C., join the PDA [Progressive Democrats of America] health-care rally on thursday, july 30th.

    Folks, the point is, we can all sit on our behinees and spit out high-falutin verbose pecans on this web site OR get out to Washington and give our elected Reps and this 'missing-in-action' POTUS, a dose of reality - -

    Starting form the birth of this nation, women's rights, civil rights and freedom - - ALL WERE WON BY 'A-C-T-I-V-I-S-M' IN THE END; true, words came first and then it was backed up by A-C-T-I-O-N !!!!!


    '' the fierce urgency of now - - ''

    And at this moment there is nothing more urgent than seeing a Universal Health Plan, become a reality, after decades of hand-wringing by politicians; enough with all the ''listening tours'', ''town-hall discussions'', posturing and pondering !!!!!!!!

    We all know what needs to be done; JUST DO IT !!!!!!

    You had more than enough money, HUNDREDS - OF - BILLIONS, to throw at Banks and CT&T [aka Corporate Thieves & Traitors] !!!

    This is NOT a Democracy anymore; it is a ''C-O-R-P-O-C-R-A-C-Y'' totally out of control !!
    Cut ALL so called ''Defense'' spending [WHICH IS actually, 'WAR' SPENDING!]

    Why is it soooooooo hard for our ''leaders'' to get anything done that benefits the 'ordinary citizens' [aka 'Main-Street'], as opposed to helping-out Corporations and WallStreet ??

    You have to ACT BOLDLY; FDR did, from a wheelchair and in more dire circumstances.
    Who and What are you afraid off, to do what is R-I-G-H-T for the PEOPLE ??
    If you know, deep in your heart [and I am sure, you do] that, THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, go ahead and DO IT with ALL your power; the prayers and well-wishes of millions of ''ordinary'' people of this country, will give you strength and fortitude, not to leave out the blessings of a 'just' God in heaven !!

    Enough said already, JUST - DO - IT !!!!!!!

    The CHOICE is very clear, Mr President:

    DO YOU have the courage to follow through on your convictions, that you espoused so clearly during the campaign, on behalf of the middle-class
    OR
    ARE YOU going to play the same old 'Washington-game' and betray the trust of your people, now that you are elected ?


    p.s. Why is the MSM silent about all this, as many of us have wondered? Are they also part of this ''Corporate Conspiracy'' that we have come to suspect ??

    Thank you for this program. Although it was only a confirmation of what I already believed, how chilling and infuriating to have such validation. Although Mr. Potter is to be commended for coming forward, I also have to express less admiration for the fact that it took the "health fair" to cause him to consider that this problem actually affected real people. To me, this is a thumbnail portrait of what is wrong with this system and the nation: people in power don't see individuals, just dollar signs. This show should be required viewing for everyone in the nation; unfortunately, non-PBS viewers are probably the ones most in need of its message. What I want to know is, what can one DO about this? We call this nation a democracy, but in fact we are powerless here, barring a national movement of sufficient scope to force notice. I for one am ashamed of what this problem says about our country, and if given the chance to participate in a demonstration, I would do so.
    There is a significant moment in "Sicko", when the new parents shown in the British clip assure Mr. Moore that they did not need to pay anything, and then add, smiling, "This isn't America." To me, that says it all.

    12-Jul-09

    a doctor's story - -

    Dear Mr President,
    I am a primary practice physician, working here in Applachia, Virginia. I am sure that you are aware of the economic situation in this region.
    The majority of the patients that we take care of in our clinic, has no health insurance since most of them are unemployed or even if they are employed (whether part-time or full-time) STILL don't get any health coverage thru their employers. Everyday I see the consequences of this scenario played out in a variety of tragic ways; here are a few recent examles:

    1] Yesterday I saw a middle aged patient of mine who works at a deli full-time, but has no health coverage thru his employer. In addition to a few of his regular problems, I felt pretty sure that he also had Obstructive Sleep Apnea as well and inorder to prove the diagnosis, I had to order a 'sleep-study' test. Now here is where it gets complicated; since the test is expensive and he cannot pay for it to have it done at the local private hospitals, like so many other patients here, he is being sent to UVA Med Ctr in Charlottesville, VA which is a SEVEN HOUR drive from here (one way)! Again, as in so many other cases here, he cannot afford to and is also scared to take a day or two off to have this test done, lest he gets fired !
    So what is going to happen if he doesn't get the proper evaluation and treatment soon? Here are a few scenarios: 1. sudden death in the middle of the night 2. worsening hypertension, heart and lung problems etc which would end up in him being rushed to the ER one day, on an emergency basis and depending on how serious the condition, he will be treated as an in-patient here locally OR transferred to a bigger hospital in Bristol or Kingsport [ almost an hour away] for specialist care - - all VERY 'PRICEY' SCENARIOS, which ultimately could run into Tens of Thousands of $$$$ !! And of course since he will be in no position to pick-up-the-tab, the hospital and the taxpayers will have to 'eat it' eventually - - 3. dozing off one afternoon while driving, resulting in MVA, either injuring/killing himself AND / OR other people as well and ending up in the ER and being hospitalised etc, etc - - again, depending on the extent of injuries, the total expenses could run into Hundreds of Thousands of $$$$$$ !!!
    NOW, imagine IF ONLY this patient had ATLEAST out-patient health-insurance coverage and he is able to get THAT ONE, SINGLE TEST done and the diagnosis established, he could be put on C-PAP or BI-PAP which would avoid ALL the above scenarios taking place (not to mention the improvement in his quality-of-life) and the potential savings in thousands $$$$!!
    2] Last week I saw for the first time, a young man with a swelling in his neck, the size of a golf ball; turned out to be testicular cancer which had spread to many other organs. Once again, he told me that he kept putting off seeing a doctor, consequent to not having health insurance. As I am writing this to you, he is in the ICU of a major hospital, on chemotherapy, fighting for his life. I don't have to tell you that the expenses are going to run into Hundreds of Thousands of $$$$$$ !!!!!
    3] A young woman in college came down with lupus > had no health insurance > dropped out of college to find work, in order to pay for her medications and doctor's fees > was fired from the job by her ''compassionate'' employers > resulting in not being able to afford her medications and outpatient visits > ended up months later, in the ER > ICU with life threatning comlications of lupus > got transferred to one of the top hospitals in the country > her final struggle lasted about three weeks before she succumbed to the disease. And once again, I don't have to tell you that the the total expenses ran into Hundreds of Thousands of $$$$$$ !!!!! NOW, IF ONLY this patient could have had ATLEAST out-patient health-insurance coverage, ALL THAT, and HER PREMATURE DEATH COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED - -
    Mr President, I could keep writing another hundred stories like the ones I have written about; the above scenarios get played-out in a thousand different ways all over the country every single day - -
    As the old saying goes, ''a stitch in time, saves nine'' and here is what I suggest:
    1] Since 'cost' has become an issue in this debate [I am sure, if any of the Senators who oppose your plan, had family members in the unfortunate situations of some of their constituents in the examples I mentioned above, it wouldn't become an ''issue''] the INITIAL STEP could be to cover everyone for their OUTPATIENT VISITS, LABS and OUTPATIENT PROCEDURES LIKE RADIOLOGY EVALUATIONS etc.
    2] Doing the above will drastically cut the number of ER vists and INPATIENT HOSPITILISATIONS (the MOST EXPENSIVE part of health care), which in turn will reduce the overall expenditure.
    3] Raise taxes on the wealthy, making over 250k like you had said in the campaign.
    4] Tax heavily ALL Tobacco products and 'Soda/Pop' drinks (they are nothing more than ''chemical mixtures'' with absolutely NO value of any kind and IN FACT, ARE HARMFUL as you well know.)
    5] 50-50 partnership with private employers for covering their employees.
    Like you and so many of us here, the great MAJORITY of Americans are DEMANDING Universal Health Care. Tell Congress NOT to be ''penny wise and pound foolish''.
    ''the fierce urgency of now - -'', YOUR words, Mr President !
    Now, PLEASE MAKE IT HAPPEN.
    We are all here on this earth, only for a short time and our lives are guided by our conscience to do what is right for ourselves and our fellow human beings; like everything else, IT IS A MORAL CHOICE that we are faced with, for every action, every day. May your conscience guide you and give you strength in your daily efforts.
    Thanks for all that you are doing and I am proud and grateful to God, that we have you as our leader in these difficult times.

    Life, liberty....
    What is life without health?
    I believe healthcare should be a right. Do the pro-lifers lose interest after birth? Every other civilized nation cares for it's citizens. Why not us?
    Opponents say that our taxes will increase. During my career I paid 22% in taxes, in return I have somewhat secure borders and a crumbeling infrastructure. I would happily pay the 30-35% that other countries pay to have a decent healthcare system like Canada, France, and Brittan.
    My husband & I have worked for over 30 years, during most of that time we maintained employer provided health care. Fortunately we were young and healthy, and virtually never used our health insurance. Nevertheless, our premiums raised each year and we were always fearful that if something catastrophic did happen, that we would not be able to cover our 20% out of pocket.
    I have now been forced to retire, due to degenerative bone loss in my hip and am now on social security disability. I will have to wait 2 years before becoming eligiable for Medicare.
    My husband is an auto mechanic who was laid off earlier this year, and has been doing odd jobs on his own. During the last 2 or 3 months he has lost 30 pounds and grown weak and sickly with a bad cough. Last month I took him to the emergency room, when he was having trouble breathing. They took an xray & ct scan, and said that there was a large mass in his lung (cancer). We were then referred to a cardiologist and oncologist who said we needed to check out the radiation and chemo facilities. A broncoscopy was done on Thursday July 2. On Monday July 6, he became very sick, gasping for breath and a ghastly shade of grey-green. I once again took him to the ER, an xray showed that he had fluid in his lung and around his heart, he was admitted to the hospital to have the fluid drained the following day.
    That morning (tues) I returned to the hospital, he told me the Dr had come to see him just befor I got there at 7:45 am, and hadn't said very much.
    I called for his nurse, and asked her when they were going to do his prcedure. She rudely told me that there was nothing schedualed for him. I asked to see the Dr, she said that since he had already been by he probally would not come back. I told her that I was told This was why he was being admitted when I had left the night before, and I calmly explained that I wanted to know what was going on, and that she was NOT going to out bitch me. Not here, not now. She mellowed out a little bit and told me she would she what she could do. Well the Dr came back and said he was ordering the drainage procedure to be done later in the day.
    They did do the drainage and took out about a mason jar of gunk from his lungs. Basically pnuemonia (sic). The next morning (wed) when I showed up, he looked and sounded worse than before. That afternoon, the Dr saw fit to come in and inform us that during the broncoscopy he had done the previous week, that he had not been able to obtain a tissue sample to biopsy, so we still had no definite diagnosis. He hoped to get some info from the fluid he had just drained. My husband was then released from the hospital, on Thursday with a prescription of antibiotics. He did seem to be doing better on Friday & Saturday, although he was still very weak and frail. Today Sunday, he is slipping back into labored breathing, and his feet & ankles are swollen. We have an appointment with the cardiologist on tues, and still no diagnosis.
    As it stands now we have already recieved the bill for the first ER visit for over $4000.00.
    One oncologist, called to set a consultation appointment. The first question was who was our insurer, When I said we had none, they HUNG UP ON ME.
    I am beside myself with fear and anger, I have left out several details of what I feel is shoddy, appalling treatment. I do not know what to do. I am so scared. Please forgive my rambling. My sweet wonderful husband of 21 years is dying, I can not help him.
    I wish I was anywhere but in this country. Where he would be treated with the care and dignity that he deserves.
    I am afraid that it is too late for us, but Please, fight and teach and speak of how important universal health care is. So that others don't have to suffer this. We played by the rules . We worked and paid for the insurance we did not need when were healthy, now that we are older and actually need medical help, we are fucked.
    I apolgize for this long and rambeling tirad and and mis-spellings. It is late and I am half crazed with fear and grief.
    If you can share my story to make the point please do. If you should know of any body, any way of helping my husband I beg for their help.
    Thank you
    Patty Coonse
    2294 Columbia Way
    Carson City, NV
    775-882-5478

    Wendell Potter warned the corporate health insurance companies want to force everyone to buy a corporate plan. The corporate plan he warned of is a bill being pushed by Robert Bennett from Utah, and Ron Wyden from Oregon called "The Healthy Americans Act" http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-11437-Salt-Lake-Independent-Examiner~y2009m6d24-Bennett-boasts-NYT-plug-for-his-health-care-plan

    The real single payer plan was introduced by Bernie Sanders in the Senate and is known as "S. 703: American Health Security Act of 2009" http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-11437-Salt-Lake-Independent-Examiner~y2009m6d19-Options-for-health-care-legislation

    Notice the corporate media has not told anyone the real single payer bill is already out there. John Conyers introduced the House version a couple of years ago H.R. 676, which Michael Moore talks about in Sicko.

    Notice Sander's bill doesn't have any cosponsors http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-703

    Notice the corporate health care plan has 17 cosponsors http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-334

    --- you can create an account on Govtrack.us to follow these two bills ---

    Every person in the US is going to have to ride herd on the Senate and House of Representatives because the corporate insurance companies will fight this battle to the death.

    As suggested at the bottom of the examiner articles, you can hound your elected officials through Facebook. Protesting outside their offices maybe required.

    Anyone who has ever played the game Monopoly knows that only one person wins and everyone else loses. We need laws and enforcement of those laws to protect us from monopolies. Without a level playing field; it is all down hill for the victims of monopolies. There is no way the economy can provide the needed distribution of goods and services with out the equitable and just management of powerful vested interests.

    I considered this program a call to action. The second comment is on-the-mark--civil disobedience. My little law office pays over $24,000 a year for health insurance (one single and one couple). I wrote my "small employer" story to my Progressive representative, Tammy Baldwin, who read part of it on the House floor, but it is time to think outside the "beltway." Many of us aging boomers should remember taking over university buildings to try to convince our universities to stop supporting the Viet Nam "war machine." Maybe we should organize sit ins at health insurance facilities all over the country and as we used to say, loudly, "shut them down." Health care belongs to the people not the financial sector!

    Bill Moyers presents brilliant reporting on an industry that sadly resembles the banking industry. The quest for profits and padding of executive compensation has cost many innocent people their health. Listening to those top health care insurance executives answer questioning was pathetic. It was also disappointing to see republican politicians puppet the misguided message of the health care insurers. It is time to take back control of our health and demand transparency of all those who have an interest in profiting from health care.

    The debate needs to be re-framed. This is not about the industry as much as it about the prostitution of Congress. Many appear to be bought and paid for by the healthcare interests. It is time to speak up to these self-serving betrayers of our votes and trust. Patriotism is more than loving country. It is also about doing what is right for the people of the country. Every American should have access to healthcare without delays, denial and fear of financial ruin. Our lack of access have placed us at the bottom of the advanced world in healthcare outcomes, yet we spend more than any other country. Our premium dollars and high drug costs are funneled to pay obscene salaries and fund lobbying efforts that work against our interests. The average citizen is powerless because no competition exists. This is a crime. Our elected officials that sing to the tune of the healthcare industry are traitors to their office and their country. The pressure needs to be directed at them. If they betray us, we need to turn them out of office regardless of Party. Healthcare is a moral issue and those that oppose a public option are not moral people. Congress has the power and the mandate from the people to provide a STRONG public option. To oppose what is so dramaticlly needed is a crime.

    as a physical therapist for over 40yrs,I witnessed first hand the big business mentality i.e. joint replacements done on individuals who were known to be medically fragile and then went in to cardiac arrest, kidney failure or stroke;nursing home residents sent out for unnecessary tests, CT scans that only served to cause them discomfort, the list goes on..while people with chronic conditions, i.e. MS, Parkinsons,etc.couldn't access long term Rehab services.
    Other countries may have waiting lists for certain elective surgeries and that can be a good thing
    Margaret S

    I watched the Bill Moyers program and came away so angry that I had to take a walk to calm myself. The Insurance companies have been bilking their policy holders since their inception. Clips shown during the interview reflect the stinking thinking of our elected officials. They seem to harp on a beauracracy coming between the patient and doctor in a public insurance program. What do we have now? A bunch of bean counters in Boston are overrulling doctors and their recommendations for treatment plans so they can make more money for their shareholders and company and damn the patients health. They arbitrarily cancel policies to scatter more money among their shareholders. The cost of medical care today is already in orbit. Persons without insurance (over 48 million now) are losing their homes, their possessions, their lives!

    Obama's plan is not the full solution, it must be revisited more than once. I agree with previous comments that such a public plan will quickly run out of money unless taxes are raised. I would be willing to pay an additional few percent taxes to help fund a public plan. Twenty-four other countries have public plans and they are working well.

    It is time for some serious CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE to get a fair plan through the congress. We have to stop the insurance lobbyists from pocketing every member of congress in order to maintain their choke hold on the American Public. RISE UP AMERICA!

    I have worked in government systems and private. I think the right to sue should exist for any health plan as at somepoint they are all slipshod. A wise consumer can protect themselves. If you rely on government, you may as well ask for government housing or for taxpayers to pay for your mortgage.

    Any system will work. It will be a good way to cull the elderly and chronically ill out of the system by neglect like the VA system for veterans. It will be chronically underfunded.

    Good luck America

    I dropped my health insurance completely. I basically said no more. This was done in pure defiance to reduce the money my health insurance provider takes in for it's shareholders and CEO. Why pay them anything at all? Go ahead and drop your health insurance and let them eat it with the millions in lost revenue. They can treat us right or go broke as far as I am concerned. I don't pay insurance premiums to shop at the grocery store.
    Canadian and Great Britain health care system sounds great to me. When can I sign up? Obama's plan won't work.

    Thank you to Bill Moyers and PBS for your enlightening and essential show. SINGLE-PAYER IS THE ONLY ETHICAL AND FINANCIAL SOLUTION:

    New study shows single-payer would be major stimulus for the us economy:

    ** 2.6 Million New Jobs,
    ** $317 Billion in Business Revenue,
    ** $100 Billion in Wages, and
    ** $44 Billion New Tax Revenues

    Here’s the study: http://www.calnurses.org/research/pdfs/ihsp_sp_economic_study_2009.pdf

    How to pay for single payer reform: HR676 - public financing and private delivery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nxi7DnCH3zk


    What can Americans do in the face of the corrupt, profit-driven, rich insurance industry that places profits before Americans’ health and lives? One idea -- if the single payer bills – HR 676 and S 703 are scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), it will be clear that single payer is the only solution.


    1. Contact Representative Conyers and his legislative aide, Joel Segal, and ask that Rep. Conyers request that HR 676 is scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Conyers’ contact information:
    Phone: 202-225-5126
    FAX: 202-225-0072
    Email: john.conyers@mail.house.gov
    Also email Joel Segal, Conyers’ health care aide: joel.segal@mail.house.gov

    2. Contact your Representative and Senators with the same request: that the congressional budget office score the single payer plans (it will become quickly clear that Single Payer is the only financially viable option). You can find your legislators’ contact information here: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

    3. ASK President Obama to support Single Payer reform and to look at the billions in savings that would occur with Single Payer reform. Ask him to insist that the Congressional Budget Office evaluate the finances of the Single Payer plans. People are dying because of our current healthcare system. Single payer reform is a human right!

    COMMENT HERE: http://www.healthreform.gov/contact/index.html
    AND HERE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
    CALL AND FAX: Phone: Comments: 202-456-1111;
Switchboard: 202-456-1414; FAX: 202-456-2461

    And ask President Obama, your Senators, and your Representative to watch this show, Bill Moyer’s Journal, at: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index-flash.html

    This arguement goes as if we are blazing a trail. We are so crazy to try and invent the wheel. There are countries that already have a system. Lets analyse these and simply put into place the one that fits and works best. Who needs to creat a bill. Look at Switzerland, Germany, and Japan and steal, steal, steal and steal!

    The thing that kills me is the ramblings about the increase in taxes. Suppose it looked like a 10 to 15% increase in taxes would be needed to fund a national health care. Most people are stunned by this idea. More taxes?! But if you were to total the amount you are paying along with your employers contrabution with your current system, you will find that the percentage is well above the tax increases being suggested - most people are paying about 25% of their benifit and pay to health care. Even though it would mean more taxes, it ultimately would mean a net gain of 10 to 15% to the employee (15% tax increase vs 25% current system).

    We spend about 15% of GDP on health care cost in the US and millions are not ensured. In other countries, they spend 8 to 10% of GDP on health care and everyone is covered. Before you buy into what those systems are like from the ads and talking heads, ask those that are from those countries. If you live in an area where Germans and Japanese tourist, tell them you will give them directions if they first tell you their real thoughts on their national health care system. Be prepared to find those that actually use it, love it!

    There is a sad reality that private insurance be it Health or Property and Casualty in the United States promotes a process that profits those who game the system. This very concept leads to a danger of collusion among numerous health providers, doctors, hospitals, ie or body shops or car dealers.

    Not only is there collusion, but a whole system designed to decide who does the work (gives the care) and how much those people will be paid. The most blatant misconception is that quality is always the result. To be part of the system requires us to undermine less expensive means that truly provide quality results, while encouraging expensive cost over runs for unnecessary procedures or more expensive procedures. To be part of the system means to accept a system of collusion or to be blackballed discredited and possibly destroyed by what could be described as a syndicate of criminal like mobsters.

    The first step is to recognize that true policy changes cannot be discouraged by the fear tactic and that collusion among this syndicate of insurance providers and service providers must be undermined.

    Pain brings change

    The only, logical system for health care would consist of a single-payer system (yes, the Government) with the option of additional insurance. This optional insurance could be provided by today's private health insurers-- they can charge whatever they like, cover whatever they like, deny whomever they like (before or after taking their premiums)... Since this is an optional product, the traditional capitalist system of competition and quality remains. Millions do not go without care and people do not die because they feel a procedure is "experimental" (too expensive).

    The Single-Payer system will only work this way. If it is a "public option," then the private companies will simply make anyone's premium that has a chronic condition or that needs medical care too expensive for them, and they will be forced onto the "public option." This is called adverse selection: force all of the unwell into one bucket, burgeoning it into bankruptcy and this is guaranteed to fail.

    Since the Single Payer system needs to be mandatory, to ensure a measure of quality, we need to make sure that all government employees (Congress, Judiciary, and Executive can have optional coverage paid for....) are included in the same plan . Currently, they have a pretty nice plan, which many would love to have.

    Single Payer Mandatory with Optional Private Insurance!

    WE THE PEOPLE, those 3 words, I guess at 47 years old I do not understand. Most people I talk to worry more about health care than losing their homes. For my wife an myself, our first bill each month to make sure we pay is our health insurance. Which is now 530 a month with a 3200 dollar deductable per person. Which to many may not seem like alot, but to people just trying to keep their heads above water it is alot. We tried changing to a different carrier, and as soon as I tell them that I've had back surgery and my wife has rheumatoid arthritis the do not have any time for me. I have worked all my life in this country trying to go forward in life, and all it feels like is running in sand.

    As a human grows in life, I was taught that we also learned along the way. With learning do we not throw away childish ideals, ( selfishness, greed, wanting more than one needs ).

    The average person in america I do unerstand, I just don't understand how the majority of americans are pushed around and pulled from one side to the other by a few egotistic group of greedy
    people.

    We need to restart our governmental system of checks-and-balances. Until we the people stand up to government and big business, we will remain puppets on a string.

    I have been saying for years that for-profit health insurance and care are incompatible: more profits, which Wall Street expects only means less care and greater premiums.

    Today's problems with Congress getting absolutely any of the Peoples' business (business done for the benefit of US) are the lobbyists. Not only to they (AMA, Pharma, health insurance, etc...) have lobbyists, but insider lobbyists with special access. How many citizens' groups have such access?

    This is not a new issue of today, but was cited by Thomas Jefferson almost 200 years ago:

    "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

    Well, we failed to do that 200 years ago, and today, they are writing our laws for their sole benefit.

    President Obama stated that he was going to prevent this lobbyist corruption, but it continues today, if not in greater intensity (because he wants to change things).

    Polls suggest that Americans want bills to address our failing health care system, global warming prevention, automobile efficiency, etc.... and there are powerful lobbyists to help "educate" any congressperson.

    Looks like we have lost our government folks. Welcome to....
    The United Corporations of America. No profits for us, no benefits for you.

    We have 46 million uninsured Americans, and many underinsured, yet our health care system is the most outrageously expensive in the world, and is breaking our economy. According to a recent study which appeared in The American Journal of Medicine (June 4), nearly two out of three bankruptcies in the U.S. stem from medical bills, and even people with health insurance face financial disaster if they experience a serious illness. Isn’t this some Dickensian nightmare, not a 21st century health care plan?
    Who are these “naked” Americans? They are an underclass created from generations of Americans who have grown up without health insurance coverage. They are the working poor and working class, who have been taught by their leaders that they don’t need health insurance coverage because they can’t afford it, so they grow up thinking it is a luxury they don’t deserve. If they get sick, they wait to get better – wait it out until they end up in the emergency room. Now they're very sick and require expensive treatment that they can’t afford to pay for and wouldn’t be necessary if they had seen a doctor and received treatment when they were first sick. They leave with bills they can’t pay. They lose what little assets they had trying to pay back. They can’t afford medications prescribed and go to the emergency room over and over, racking up more bills, suffer horribly and then die too young, leaving young dependents to repeat the saga. Yes, this is America!!

    What the industry doesn’t mention is the fact that private insurers get to cherry pick who they insure, therefore increasing their profit and decreasing their costs. Why isn’t health care a right for all citizens and not a compromise between government and business profit?

    Insurance corporations are trying to stop the freight train of health care reform, now that Americans realize that “health insurance” isn’t “health care.” They will say anything to frighten us so they win. Will we continue to take their bait?

    The generous health-care coverage our so-called "representatives" get on our dime has made them immune to the suffering of those Mr Potter witnessed. They would rather deal with the abstracts of suffering than confront it. The Dante quote was appropriate, and the pain and suffering of each person harmed by their betrayal of the public good will only stoke those waiting flames hotter.

    This interview was so revealing to me and also was extremely shocking and depressing as well. Please, please be sure to take this message to heart and put to shame those who would deny us a basic right.

    Jeff Strang are you a health insurance lackey?

    So the list of hundreds of conditions that all the insurance companies use to deny people coverage from acne to cancer and even a mild form of autism, asperger's syndrome, diabetes both type one and two and many many more conditions are all the fault of the people who have them. A child born with type 1 diabetes should not be covered because it's their fault. This is what your saying here buddy.

    The list is so long it could go around my house.

    Are you so gullible to believe that the insurance corporations are not the main issue here?

    Middlemen my ass.
    You know you are an example of how screwed up this country is, that you can sit in your easy chair and come up with this nonsense and then blame people who are sick fro their problems. Amazing, simply amazing. Your lack of empathy is astonishing.

    No Thanks, I'll take a Single Payer System over a public system with the mandatory purchase of private insurance and a $1000 fine if you don't participate. I don't want the government or the private insurance companies holding a gun to my head !

    It saddens me that you have joined the bandwagen blaming the health insurance industry for all the ills of America broken health care system. The insurance companies are only a symtom of our self inflicted health care crisis. They simply act as a middleman who collects money from potential claimants and the medical service providers. They, of course, must cover their administrative costs + a reasonable profit. Otherwise why would they choose to be in their business. No, as Pogo famously declared "We have seen the enemy and it is us". The true culprits of our health care crisis are ourselves, who demand Mercedes Benz care at a Volkswagen price, and our medical providers who know that since the insurance company and not the customer are paying the tab, they can charge whatever they please without the normal restraint of the free market. If the insurance companies rightly try to constrain costs, they are branded as uncaring monsters. Shame on you, Mr. Moyers, for uncritically accepting Mr. Winship's knee-jerk, populist argument. Bottom Line: Health insurance is a "reverse lottery" where no sane person wants to win. The lottery only works if everyone buys a ticket and doesn't game the system. If only those who are sick choose to participate, it's no longer insurance,... it's a sure thing. Mr. Winship views mandated universal coverage as the insurance companies craven quest for more customers. I view as requiring those with a stake in the system to pay their fair share. Your job, Mr. Moyers, is to ask the tough questions, search for the "Truth" and elighten us. You instead chose to identify convenient scapegoats. With this blatently one-sided piece you failed to do your duty. Please note that I do not work for the insurance or medical industries. I'm proud to be an independant who sees things for what they are. Please try for a more balanced, fair approach in the future. Fair and thoughtful coverage would help us identify a real solution to our shared dilemma. Kind regards.

    When attempting to listen to the July 10th Profits over People I can do nothing to get sound. The sound seems to have been cut for all of Moyers' podcasts. Will someone check and see what is happening. Thank you.

    Why hasn't one Congressperson asked CBO to give us all an honest appraisal, and tell us about it? eg,

    Ask private health care providers -- doctors, dentists, hospitals -- what it costs their practices to administer patient INSURANCE. You'll find that it ranges from 15 to 40 percent. Worse for us, it's all deductible -- just another cost of doing business. It costs the IRS every penny. (A)

    Next, ask employers who offer "health benefits" to their employees what it costs -- in direct dollars and hidden overhead -- just to administer these benefits. (B)

    Next, ask the employees how much money, time and record-keeping they expend on health INSURANCE and billing; for that matter, ask anyone with health INSURANCE to do the same. Of course, it's all deductible -- just another cost of doing business or having a family. (C)

    Next, ask your IRS how much its individual, family, provider and other business taxpayers deduct from their tax returns for health INSURANCE (D) and health CARE payments (E).

    Next, ask any insurance carrier how much more it receives in revenue than it spends directly on its insured clients' health CARE. Since it wouldn't exist unless it made a profit, and unless it's totally unique in its business practices, the answer will be something like "80 percent", 20 to 40 percent of which has to be profit. (F)

    Next, total the average cost per patient of all direct patient care for Medicare and Medicaid patients by all Medicare-eligible providers. Multiply that by the total number of persons not covered by Medicare, Medicaid and the VA to get a reasonable estimate of the cost of providing UNIVERSAL health CARE. (G)

    Next, multiply (G) times 5% to estimate additional administrative costs for universal health care (H). Included in H is the cost of maintaining and publishing a comprehensive, current, monitored quality provider cost/reimbursement schedule. (IMHO, providers should be free to charge any price for any given service. They should also be responsible for direct collections of fees in excess of the regular service fee schedule).

    Health CARE costs (G+H) minus Health INSURANCE costs (A+B+C+D+E+F) = Net Health CARE costs.

    Tax deductions for health INSURANCE costs (D) could be eliminated practically over night. Tax deductions for health CARE costs (E) might be eliminated in stages.

    Some groups estimate the savings embedded in a program that eliminates INSURANCE costs as $300-400 billion per year and the net costs of government administered and universal CARE (Medicare for All; or, Single Payer) as about the same. By eliminating the other hidden costs of administration and the tax revenue avoidance alone, the net benefit to business, the IRS and individuals is enormous.

    The net benefit to the nation is a healthier population, less anxious about "what happens if ..." Health care is national defense. We need to pay as much attention to our population as we do to the Predator program.

    INSURANCE companies, their lobbyists and the Congresspeople who accept their donations probably think and estimate differently.

    Why hasn't one Congressperson asked CBO to give us all an honest appraisal, and tell us about it?

    Mr. Potter made a comment that has gone unnoticed as the various comments seem to indicate. He said that many long time Capitalist supporters in corporate management and government positions are locked into that age old montra that the Free Market cannot co-exists with socialized enities. The fact is we have long had socialized functions operating in our capitalist economy, prime examples are the fire department, police department, various public utilities, and so on. These services are financed through property taxes in most regions of the country. Considering the fact that these are crucial services required by all citizens at some point in time, why should healthcare be held hostage by private for-profit interests who have built private profit toll booths between patients and their healthcare providers?

    Bravo Bill Moyers and Mr. Potter for the discussion of the realities and perpetuated myths of government run healthcare; In reference to Obama's campaign promise, every American should be entitled to the same health care that is available to federal employees (such as senator coverage) ; an example is Dick Cheney's health care which is government run and seems to be pretty timely and he must have been dealing with a great bureaucrat; Cut the crap with the hair-raising socialist, anti-capitalism shouting; I can't wait to be a senior citizen and be eligible for Medicare, but I fear I may not survive to benefit (age 65). For those capitol hill representatives that are ANTI-Healthcare should surrender their government health care and get their own. If the tax payer takes care of you, you are responsible for taking care of your constituents.

    Thank you for putting together this program. My only wish is there were some way to get this on mainstream television. This was one of the most powerful discussions on how health insurance companies really operate. One would think it could easily find its way to shows like "60 Minutes."

    And believe it or not, the television channel for PBS, KQED in the San Francisco, did not mess up the broadcast this time as they did in the last two times your show dealt with this subject.

    All you have to do is see the documentary Sicko and your worst fears will be confirmed,but any one who ever really thought about health care already knew.It is inconcievable that in a country as rich as the USA wwe would rank 36th in life expectancy and even lower in infant mortality.as someone who works in the non-profit world i can tell that the govt programs like medicaid and medicare are efficent,progressive,and much more caring and attentive than my own personal health insurance.

    Mr. Moyers - I have never been a big fan of yours, but I did find the interview of Mr. Potter fascinating. One point that I think you might have asked if you had more time is: Mr. Potter said that, I believe it was Aetna, relieved the roles of 8,000,000 subscribers...and yet he said that insurance companies viewed the 50 million uninsured as potential subscribers. If the companies wanted to be truly profitable, wouldn't they view a certain part of the population as "unprofitable?" And for that matter, if the insurance companies wanted to stay in business under our current system, wouldn't they WANT potential insurees to view them as passionate and caring, and not be viewed as money-grabbing, with corporate profit or shareholder value as the top priority? Wouldn't reputation play into a company's bottom line? Wouldn't that have more potential effect on a company's stock? Has our communication system gotten so messy, (or talented!) that knowing the true facts about a company's values or intentions makes accurate discernment nearly impossible? (or the government's values and intentions indiscernable for the same reasons?) Food for thought.

    This was a stunning program as it validated just about everything I was aware of. To hear it from an insider was truly wonderful.
    I particularly liked when this happened.
    BILL MOYERS: Did you go back to corporate headquarters and tell them what you had seen?

    WENDELL POTTER: I went back to corporate headquarters. I was trying to process all this, and trying to figure out what I should do. I did tell many of them about the experience I had. And the trip. I showed them some pictures I took while I was down there. But I didn't know exactly what I should do.

    You know, I had bills of my own. And it was hard to just figure out. How do I step away from this? What do I do? And this was one of those things that made me decide, "Okay, I can't do this. I can't keep-- I can't." One of the books I read as I was trying to make up my mind here was President Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage."

    And in the forward, Robert Kennedy said that one of the president's, one of his favorite quotes was a Dante quote that, "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of moral crisis, maintain a neutrality." And when I read that, I said, "Oh, jeez, I-- you know. I'm headed for that hottest place in hell, unless I say something."

    He turned into a man of conscious even though it was spearheaded by fear, his fear caused him to do the Right Thing for himself and the country. He demonstrated a profound thing in my mind.
    Thank you Bill Moyers and Wendell Potter. Thank you for taking care of our children and our future by letting people know the truth and the truth will set us all free.
    Elaine

    Bill Moyer's and Wendell Potter's exposure of the evils of the America Healthcare System, as it now exists, is one of the most important documentaries yet presented on PBS. Why can't this program be shown on main stream news programs such as CNN and Fox. Just what do the money changers fear? The healthcare industry is not about health. It is about money and is totally corrupt and evil. I am a 71 year old man, worked hard all my life, am college educated and on Social Security. I now have prostate cancer. Even so, I recently had to cancel all my secondary and drug insurance because I could not afford it. That makes me mad as Hell and I am not going to take it any more. I recommend all American citizens immediately stop paying their insurance premiums. That will, in short order, bring the insurance companies, the AMA, the drug companies and the corrupt hospitals to their knees. Only then will our politicians get the message the American people demand a single pay healthcare option. Healthcare is a right...not a privilege for those that can afford it. Boycott all healthcare now. Healthcare for profit is outrageous. Oh, I forgot to mention, my daughter is a practicing physician.

    Thank you for the excellent program. I really got an education listening to it. I have had good insurance, mediocre insurance, and no insurance, and so am unmoved now by the fear tactics. However, I have often been afraid to speak of my opinions to my friends and family because I felt like they knew more about health care than I did. Now I understand that they don't. Furthermore, I have wanted to write to my local congressman and senators, and I now know what to say.

    One point seldom addressed is the exorbitant prices that are charged by hospitals for use of their services.

    In a lawsuit filed in 2008 by the Arizona State Compensation Fund, Maricopa County (AZ) Superior Court Judge Edward Burke ruled that the State Compensation Fund does not have to pay ambulatory care centers the full bill for treating injured workers.

    Burke said the evidence shows several ambulatory surgery centers' charges were "not the reasonable value of their services." More to the point, Burke said the surgery centers routinely accepted less than the full bill from Medicare, and other insurers that have contracts with them.

    Judge Burke said the evidence showed that Canyon Ambulatory Surgery Center accepts 30 percent or less of its billed charges from 82 percent of its patients' insurers, and El Dorado Surgery Center accepting less than 24 percent of its bill from 89 percent of insurers.

    These exorbitant fees serve to pad the profits of insurance companies.

    Assume I have a $5,000 deductible policy. If a hospital is billing me $12,000, in the vast majority of cases, the insurance company will be charged less than $3,600, yet I will pay the full $5,000 deductible and would be led to believe that the insurance saved me $7,000.

    In the situation above, the insurance actually made a profit on my hospital stay.

    A necessary part of health care reform is to establish realistic guidelines for rates that are charged by hospitals and medical specialists (based on fees that are actually collected).

    I enjoyed your program greatly.

    Your program contained the following:

    BILL MOYERS: So it's money that can buy access to have their arguments heard, right?

    WENDELL POTTER: That's right.

    BILL MOYERS: When ordinary citizens cannot be heard.

    Is the same not true with the media. Is it not true that the full one on one interviews granted are made up of only the rich and famous. Can anyone remember even a 30 minute interview on national TV during this health care debate between a front line practicing physician and a TV journalist?

    I also found the BLOG interesting with the strong support for a single payer system. Especially since we have a single payor universal coverage system for those who are disabled and over 65 and all of the projections are that it does not have enough money. David Walker was quite clear in his interview on 60 minutes on how overextended we are. The interview can still be brought up over the net.

    I am sure, however, that they are working hard to control the costs because I have had great difficulty in obtaining Medicare prior authorization for care for my patient and during an Obama healthcare kickoff meeting I sposored another patient expressed her unhappiness that Medicare would not authorize the only medication that has ever helped her. She was very vocal that the country needs a single payer system without even realizing she is already living the dream.

    The photos of the health fair were truely moving and should energize all of us to work diligently to a plan which provides as much compasionalte care that is achievable. We should remember that they are the images of true nonprofit health care. All involved were volunteering their time and efforts unlike those in the Medicare administration which show up to work expecting to profit from their days work. As soon as we start paying for all the free care from volunteers, church clinics, Shriners, and the like, things will undoubtedly cost the taxpayer less.

    I do thank Mr. Potter for coming forward but I hope that he donates all the roalities from any upcoming book to the cost of medical care for the poor.

    Thank you for an excellent program.

    Sicko: the Michael Moore Documentary mentioned online:
    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/sicko/

    Charles,
    We all hate the "cost containment" measures of the insurance companies. But do we really believe that a government run plan wont have the same or worse "cost containment" measures . . .
    Posted by: Pam Moss
    -------------------
    You need to watch Bill's closing commentary this week, "The Influence of Money". Our government will only work when we as citizens stay informed and make our elected officials work for our best interests. It's become way too easy to trash our government while we don't even demand action to remove the financial influence of the special interests from Washington.

    Eugene Debs, labor leader in the early 20th century, fought the special interests all his life. He once commented that; "This system of government allows it's citizens to have almost anything they want if they just ask for it, it just seems that they don't want very much of anything".

    What can we expect when we keep electing the same people over and over, decade after decade. Expecting change while continuing to do the same thing over and over has been defined as insanity !

    Three years ago I fell down a flight of stairs, dislocated my shoulder and pulled the radial nerve (and other nerves coming off the radial nerve) from the brachial plexis. In other words, I had no use of my left arm. I also developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Look it up. It causes devastating and unbearable nerve pain. I had great insurance, Teamsters. But, even though I was insured they would only covered 30 visits to the physical therapist the first year and 40 visits the second year. Yes, it took me two years to regain the use of my arm, but three years after the fact I still have nerve damage in my hand. I faithfully went to therapy three time a week for two years. Even though the doctors called my injury "catastrophic" and wrote letters to that effect and my pain management doctor wouldn't treat me unless I was currently in physical therapy, my insurance company refused to extend the number of visits. I ended up paying for 242 visits out of my own pocket. Include all my co-pays, (ambulance, MRI, x-rays, hospital bill, seven stelate ganglion blocks, prescriptions, and so much more), and I ended up in debt. I had to stop taking one of my prescriptions, Topamax, because the co-pay was too expensive, $114.00 per month. Topamax was prescribed to alleviate the nerve burning in my hand. I am a single mother with one daughter still living at home and am now in danger of losing my house because of the medical bills I incurred (and paid). Think of what would have happened if I was one of the millions of uninsured!! What is this country coming to when we let insurance companies decide whether or not medical treatment is necessary and who lives or dies. Shame on them!!

    Under the Preamble of our Federal Constitution, our government MUST provide for the common defense and protect the citizens and provide for the general welfare of All Americans. We are supposed to have a government funded public healthcare system to protect us just like we have a government funded public Army that protects us. This is Senior Policy. When will the stupid American population come up scale and clear up there misunderstandings on there Federal Constitution. Can you see this ? Are you just another blank slate? Are you going to debate this healthcare issue for years or will you DEMAND our government work for the people and follow U.S. Policy NOW! google: LaRouchePac

    It’s Not the Insurance companies it’s the Legal Lottery

    Bill,

    In Georgia, insurance companies are highly regulated by state government and follow the practices of Medicaid and Medicare. We have for all practical purposes a government run system now. FDA and other federal agencies set the rules that drug and medical supply manufactures and suppliers have to follow and these rules can drive significant costs that are passed on to the consumer / insurance company that has to live within the rules. My personal experience with M/M is that you better have private insurance to help take up the slack.

    But I do not see you debating the health care cost question without addressing the Legal Lottery that we have in this country. My wife has been in the health care industry for 30 years and the primary issue that we discuss (in healthcare) is when will she get sued for doing her job in an appropriate and professional manner.

    Insurance companies that I have used are in the health care business to help people and make a profit too thou some are non-profit. Paying bad and frivolous lawsuit claims cost us all in higher premiums and health care costs. These costs do not follow the normal statistical tables that insurance and other companies use to calculate premiums. (The list of countries that you showed none has the legal lottery that we have and the costs show it.)

    The tests that patients are given and that new drugs, medical devices and medical procedures required are far beyond what is required for patient safety but to reduce risks associated with the coming legal proceedings. So our current legal system reduces our safety because it now takes two or three times more money and effort to get life saving ideas to the patient and the insurance companies will not pay for them until there are enough cases that the process or procedure can now be declared routine.

    So a Government run insurance fund will now pay the over priced lawyers directly? If you want to reduce health care costs set a standard legal hourly rate and do not let lawyers be paid on contingency fee (for medical matters) and then you might have a chance of reducing health care costs. A Government run insurance fund should be setup for Doctors, Hospitals and anyone else in the medical field and then that cost can be partially paid by the people setting up the rules. The amount of paperwork in the healthcare industry for the Government and lawyers is staggering and that is more costs that we consumers are paying.

    Since Congress and the Executive branch are made up primarily of lawyers they should recuse themselves from this debate anyway.

    John L

    (Repost since the first time had an error)

    Writer Moss thinks she can "sue" a megamillion dollar health insurance company? Good luck Pam when they turn you down for that operation and you are sick and worried. Good luck finding an attorney to take on Wall Street.
    I have traveled the world, been in large cities, small towns, rich countries, poor countries. In all but the U.S. health care was largely free, compassionately dispensed and accessible to all. I tried going "naked" as the insurance companies call the uninsured, for only two years of my 60 years. I was treated like a pariah, and actually received a bill of $500 for a mammogram during that sad period. If we don't fix this health care mess and soon with a singer payer or Medicare style system for all, our economy, national stability and sense of community will go down the tubes along with our overall health. Want to live in a country with 50 million uninsured when a big deadly epidemic hits? I don't.

    the link for the mp3 doesn't work. Please fix it.

    Charles,
    We all hate the "cost containment" measures of the insurance companies. But do we really believe that a government run plan wont have the same or worse "cost containment" measures? Do we remember last year when Congress couldnt agree to fund the childrens health insurance plan? Do we remember all the medicare budget cuts in the 90's that resulted in the expulsion of so many sick people from nursing homes? Do we not observe the deplorable conditions of our VA medical system? At least with an insurance bureaucracy, we can sue them if they do wrong. We cant sue a government bureaucrat for limiting the number of visits for a particular diagnosis.

    I'm already tweeting about the show I just watched on TV and am so pleased their is a link to the video on your site. GREAT stuff. Americans need to stop being bullied by those peddling 'fear'. Those who try to convince us that universal health care is socialism and should be avoided at all costs are the ones profiting the most from it. I've had health insurance for the past 45 years and I'm about to become uninsured for the first time in my life on August 1st. My insurance company has done everything possible to exclude my entire family due to my son's medical condition. They are offering a plan for the kids (as required by law) but my son's policy alone will be $900 a month. It's time for all of us to start living healthier lives, focus on prevention, and take care of those who need help. Thank you for this great presentation. It gives me hope.

    As a long-time viewer and fan of Bill Moyers, I was deeply disappointed in this piece. Mr. Moyers completely disregarded the fact that Medicare operates "efficiently and inexpensively" because Medicare does not pay the actual cost of provding the care for its members. The unreimbursed costs of treating Medicare patients is shifted by the providers onto other patients with private health insurance. Furthermore, Medicare does not set aside funds to pay its future claims for its members, while private insurors do. The illision that Medicare can provide services cheaper, more efficiently and with better consumer satisfaction, will quickly evaporate once the other private health plans have been driven out of business by a government plan that is indirectly artificially subsidized by privately insured plans.
    As a person with serious medical conditions,I would much prefer to argue with my HMO beauracrat (whom i can sue), than a government agency bureaucrat answerable to no one.

    Ben Spencer I disagree with you. How are we going to get decent health care coverage if profit is the only thing that drives it? I don't know how old you are but in 1965 Medicare and Medicade were started because the health insurance companies would not insure the elderly and the poor or working poor.

    You can't expect the market do anything right with health care. Why, because people get sick, they age they have serious accidents, they lose jobs. They live lives that do not conform to the market values. It's not about them, our your warped market values. Competition? You really think the market will solve this given the history.

    This kind of selfish uncaring attitude is not serving anyone except the people who want to keep the status quo.

    I just posted a the reason these corporations are not to be trusted with our health care, did you not read it? Blue Cross would only cover one of my wife's knees, she has two. Is this the kind of market solving your talking about?

    What I liked most about this episode is that I participated in the epiphany along with Mr. Potter.

    I'm more of an operations type of thinker when it comes to the material world than Mr. Potter.

    I saw the health care fair in TN as battlefield triage, complete with tents and long lines of walking wounded. The good news is that there were so many people still competant enough to erect the tents and do the triage.

    Insurance companies threaten that level of medical competance, as well as progress in the medical arts, because of all the games they play with spinning the data. Hedgehogs are wondering why big pharma's pipelines are empty...

    So after I assessed that "first do what is necessary" was happening and then "next do what is possible" was happening, the obvious question was "Where is the "war" that created this battlefield triage scene to begin with?

    In order to complete the 3 step ladder to "heaven", this is how Francis of Assisi taught it: Step one - "do what is necessary". Step two - "do what is possible". Step three naturally follows - "Soon you are doing the impossible".

    No one at the health care "festival" waited to get permission from the war lords to do the triage, did they? And that's the point, the impossible is possible only when we stop talking to those who have NO DESIRE to release any of the stolen money from their billion dollar package pockets back to you so that you can get the tune up that EVERY BODY needs from time to time.

    The fact that there ARE people who want you to suffer because they got rich from PREVENTING your tune up is another "illness" altogether and maybe the psychiatrists reading along can figure out what kind of battlefield triage they'll need to limit the damage done by such "people" until they get "cured", or not. Some might be un-curable of their criminal "selfishness".

    Interesting to note that The Big Giant Head subscribes to the Wall Street Journal - thanks Ms. Whitfill for the link that no one could read unless they "subscribed" to THAT "journal"...

    Why does everyone think that government provided healthcare and government protected healthcare (our current system) are the only options?

    Many incorrectly refer to our current healthcare system as free market. It is not a free market system. It is a system both disctated by and protected by government regulation. Government regulates industry into the gutter and then thinks it has to take it over to fix it. Government involvement disabled tne banking and the auto industry. So naturally government is the only one who can fix them.

    Allow consumers to choose health care providers and drug makers who are protected from lawyers.

    The government's role is to protect the consumer. Do this by requiring full cost disclosure by the health care industry prior to committing to services. Encourage more competition among healthcare providors, not less. Look seriously how we can reduce the cost of becoming a healthcare provider. Follow more real market priciples. This is the solution.

    I agree with Wendell Potter's view that the health insurance industry's pursuit of profit has hurt patients.

    As Robert Reich said in a recent Journal interview, capitalism has swamped Democracy.

    If there is one area of human activity that needs to be removed from the profit motive, surely the health and well-being of America's citizens is it.

    Here's choice for you.
    My wife needed physical therapy for her knees.
    Now remember I am talking about two knees here.

    Her doctor gave her a script for 12 sessions for both knees.

    Blue Cross HMO promptly informed all parties after the claim was put in that they only cover one knee.
    On top of that they would only pay for 8 of the 12 sessions. So on top of the premium we pay of over $4000 a year and the co-pay she has been told she can't have what the doctor ordered.

    How do they come up with this stuff? We at Blue Shield Blue Cross keep cost down by only covering one knee... If this was not serious one could only laugh at such absurd rules.

    If this is not rationing, I don't know what is.
    The argument that the insurance companies are using; that if we have a government backed option it will mean rationing is not only an out right lie it's hypocrisy at it's worse.

    I would like to know the percentage of Americans who are dealing with this same issue.

    I think maybe people should start having strikes inside the health insurance head quarters, occupy there lobbies and practice nonviolent protest.

    Maybe this needs to handled like the civil rights movement.

    1. Health care should not be for profit. It is a basic human need
    2. Until we have real campaign finance reform, there is very little point in talking about the rest.

    Health and health care in America are a multi-faceted conundrum. On one hand, we are taught that we are not to be responsible for our own health, that only a physician can answer the question, "How are you?" On the other hand, we are refused the care that we need by either government or private insurance companies. Our health care system is a three-legged stool - insurance companies that collect premiums and deny care, pharmaceutical companies that increase prices while advertising on public airways, and physicians who enrich themselves by insisting on unnecessary procedures and tests and prescribing unnecessary medications. They support one another in order to drive prices up while driving quality of care down. I am very concerned that the lobbyists will persuade government officials to approve mandatory private insurance that will impoverish many and still result in poor care. Without removing the health care system completely from Wall Streeet, we will have a mandated more of the same. Someone needs to kick one or more legs out of the stool.

    What hypocrites. Republican sockpuppets of the insurance industry are saying "don't put a government bureaucrat between the patient & the doctor". As opposed to the insurance company bureaucrat? Can somebody explain the difference? And the GOP lapdogs are saying a taxpayer-funded government-run plan is no good. As opposed to the platinum-plated, taxpayer-funded government-run plan they get their health care from...which I guess is good enough for Congresscritters but not for everybody else.

    Would SOMEBODY ask Prez O this at a town meeting sometime...? It'll never get on the news otherwise...

    It boils down to one thing: Joe Citizen doesn't pay enough to Congresscritters to make a difference. The insurance lobby can defeat them or keep them in. We can't.

    As for "rationing", what do you call having one sixth of the population with no health insurance at all? And waiting lists? Canada only has waiting lists because it spends a third less per capita, & still covers everybody... "Best health care system in the world"? Prove it.

    The insurance industry is unique in basing its profits on stiffing its customers. As owner of a retail store many years ago I was offered an "all risks" insurance policy. On reading the fine print I found that "all risks" did not include damage to a retailer's most vulnerable concern, his display windows.

    It was refreshing to hear a true insider like Mr. Potter confess what really is going on inside the health insurance industry. To suggest that a free market economy can exist in this millieu is a farce.
    I'm a family physician and have watched the outrageous cost spiral that cannot be contained. Sadly the American people slog down the pablum fed to them by politicos and "thought leaders" that a public option is a bad thing. The money machine puts fear in their hearts and they cry out to the greedy corporations to save them just as is scripted.
    Medicare and Medicaid are a pain but no less so than Cigna, Anthem, etc. and Medicare is run w/ a 3% overhead!!! Private industry could compete but not when the Administrators make 7 to 9 figure incomes.
    I'm not going to see less patients. I'm not going to leave medicine just because I make a fair amount less money. I'll still make a good living. One month's salary of the CEO of Anthem would likely pay for all the health care needed in Wise, VA for a year. The gas bags in Washington are as insulated from reality as the pampered likes of Mr. Potter's ilk. They don't have to buy insurance or make copayments or even have to wait in a doctor's office. The spoiled brats have protected themselves from the world of their constituents and have tried to make it sound as if they have no choice but to do so. When you find a politician that turns down the healthcare provided to congress and senate and doesn't accept money from lobbyists and interest groups (it'll be a cold day down there) then you might have someone worth listening to, someone who grew a conscience like Mr. Potter did.
    Until then we'll just keep buying the fiction we're sold.

    If the insurance companies use tactics that scare people into believing that they will lose choice and quality by having government bureaucrats influence health care, the pro-singlepayer folks should counter with tactics that scare people into believing that Wall Street bureaucrats and CEOs are gaming the system to benefit those at the top, at the expense of the health of policy holders It seems a no-brainer to me. This is the perfect time to draw upon people's disgust with Wall Street and CEOs. I'm curious to know why I haven't yet seen such a strategy. Perhaps, it's coming in the next month or so.

    About health care reform and your July 12 broadcast, particularly your plain-speaking words: bless you, Mr. Moyers; indeed, the love of money is the root of evil. I am both a bleeding heart and an opponent of entitlements despite being a benefactor of state unemployment compensation myself. Therein lays the rub—we humans operate in support of our self-interests. We all want what’s ours, including scooters and handicapped parking signs. It seems to me that health care is part of a larger issue. Let’s step back: had society not insisted that each of us leave mummy and go to school and then let us down by pruning our curiosity and giving (some of) us unmarketable knowledge and skills (and others none or little), then most of us could be about working and making work and we might not be having this discussion. Schools could be more successful and avoid employing an army of interventionists and psychometrists if those being taught were actually students with a need and desire to learn. (I think it is ironic that American eight-year-old public school students need to learn the environmental impact of various biomes yet adult immigrants by-pass this learning requirement—rather, opportunity.) Really, though, how can a youngster be expected to learn or care about learning if his/her world is crumbling at home? If she/he does manage to conform (in spite of problems that we adults would run from) then the emotional disconnect may likely rebound during that student’s future. Why is it that America can pay $150 a day to educate a student (or $75 a day to house that student should they go on to become a prisoner) but then harrumph about paying for vaccinations, school supplies, and breakfast programs? I can tell you first hand how sad it is to watch students come to school without having or being given breakfast…unless you call the packets of ketchup some benevolent teachers give them “breakfast”—or is that just in Cincinnati? Best investment? Find a way to appropriately compensate those being put upon—pay students for succeeding in school. Then maybe we’ll be able to sidestep having to pay their parents to raise them. They just might really learn something then grow up to be too busy to get fat and sickly. Mummy might feel just a little less financially pressed to annihilate her young and might even take a job if she doesn't have to lose her family's health care to do it. With MEANINGFUL education, daddy might feel some hopefulness and stick around. In parting, we would all do well to remember that what we bring to this world always seems to come back to or at us.

    I keep reading that everyone will get Medicare when they turn 65. It's not true. I will never receive Medicare because I did not pay into Social Security when I was a teacher in Illinois. When I started teaching, paying into Social Security was not an option for Illinois teachers.

    Now it is: but I have already been retired from teaching for 10 years. Even though I have worked part-time jobs since then, a person can accumulate only 4 quarters per year, no matter how much money they make at their non-teaching jobs. And part-time jobs don't even give a person the 4 quarters that they might need within one year.

    I need 40 quarters to get Social Security and Medicare ~~~ I have only 21. It is not that easy to get any kind of job when you are approaching your 65th birthday, so I don't see myself ever getting enough quarters to get either Social Security or Medicare.

    There is no doubt in my mind that something needs to be done about insuring everyone in this country. I'm glad to hear that Medicare is so effective ~~~ unfortunately, I am stuck paying Illinois Teachers' Retirement an ever-increasing sum for my health insurance; and when I hit 65, that amount will increase drastically.

    Thank you, Bill Moyers and Wendell Potter, for bringing this insurance problem to the PBS audience. What a pity that more people don't watch PBS . . .

    Where else but the USA can a specialist administer a medication in his/her office for a chronic disease that is less proven, less safe & possibly life threatening than other proven effective & safe "self-administered" medications so that he/she can make $- a profit of $2M yr! (Not including the consulting fees paid to the provider to promote the treatment to patients.) In many cases the insurance companies are aware this is taking place but do nothing about it-WHY? This is but one small example of the role that greed plays in our medical system. Removing profit incentives for insurance companies, Managed Care Organizations,HMO's, Pharmacy Benefit Managers, Medical providers and
    Hospitals is the only way we can deliver healthcare on a fair & equitable basis to all Americans. President Obama & his staff would certainly benefit from sitting down with Wendell Potter to seriously discuss how we can change our current system & not pander to these profiteers!
    All Americans need to unite and march in their cities in unison to demand these changes take place & seize the opportunity to change what we know DOES NOT WORK!

    The United States needs a single payer, government run health care system and it needs it now. Don't believe the "horror stories" from the Insurance industry about such a system. I live in Canada. Out of work, a routine stress test revealed a possible heart problem, I was give a angiogram within 4 days and a triple heart bypass operation 2 days after that. The only thing I payed for was the rental TV. If I lived in the US, I would have had to sell my house to pay for it! Why have an insurance company stand between you an your doctor in getting proper health case. Cut out the insurance companies and you cut out major costs to the system

    I would like to get the audio podcast and listen to it.

    Unfortunately the link to it is not working and the file does not seem to exist.

    Hope someone sees to it on Monday.

    The comment posted by “jeffet” goes into the details of what I have been asking people for the past few years.

    Why does health care have to be a for profit business?

    Don’t we owe our citizens some compassion and care? We certainly do that when they are in economic distress, why not when they are in physical or mental distress.

    Thank you for your timely and enlightening show featuring Mr. Wendell Potter. As a licensed psychologist in private practice, and as a medical provider under several insurers, I have long been aware of cost-containment efforts made by those insurers in the area of mental health. In some cases, I have had to argue with non-licensed company representatives on behalf of my clients, even when those clients have been severely depressed and/or suicidal.

    I favor a single payer system and if I had the power, I would do away with for-profit insurance companies, for their priorities are not predicated upon patient needs. I recognize that a single payer system is not politically feasible at this time, however, but think we ABSOLUTELY MUST have a decent public option. The President MUST NOT sign any bill that lacks that public option. Should he do so, I will conclude all is lost for this country, and will likely beat a hasty retreat to someplace else where people come first.

    laura weites:

    Is there no one we can trust to look out for the interest of the American people? Someone that really means it, and not just says what sounds good or uses scare tactics filled with lies.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No, no one Laura.

    I learned long ago that politicians are all cut from the same cloth.

    Anyone that goes into politics is greedy and power hungry or they would not go into that field unless they wished to rule and control others.

    The persons that would make good politicians don't want that job. So you are sunk from the start when you vote.

    Your only chance for a balanced approach to this problem is that of an organized consumers union that can fight back when they start getting reamed out from the lying politicians.

    70% of our economic sickness if fueled by the consumer. Without the consumer the US is sunk...so stop talking and start organizing.

    Cathy your not stupid, join the club. Our government is broken, period.

    Listen to how Obama now talks about the health care issue when compared to how he did so during the campaign.

    He has done a flip flop.

    We are not stupid for believing in a system it is just that the system has failed. I'm sorry I don't have an answer.

    Posted by: Cathy Lehman

    Healthcare or Lack Thereof!

    Respectfully, I appreciate another head's up in regard to how my government is further screwing me. Every week, there is another topic and another way in which the quality of our lives keeps decreasing.

    Would somebody who is smarter than myself please write or produce a show on "Becoming a Patriot for Dummies" guidebook, and I will follow it?

    Does anyone have a “proven” solution of what works in combating our homeland terrors? I am not sure that complaining via emails, faxes, etc. are going to make any difference. They are not as effective as the lobbyists’ money that keeps greasing the pockets of our elected/appointed politicians.

    These informative shows are great. But what good are they unless a viable solution is offered. I just feel more hopeless, impotent, and stupid for having believed in this system.


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    Sure all this discussion does little good in getting things changed, but it still is part of the process

    Putting our thoughts down on pen and paper first crystallizes in our heads what needs to be changed in our lives. Getting it all out and putting it all down is the first start of this recognition process that leads us to change.

    When you write, it uses a different part of the brain that mere speaking. Writing helps crystallize your thoughts, it shares prospects with others and they can know they are not alone and others can learn as well as help you learn.

    As far as a patriot book?

    Hard to do as things change so rapidly in the world.

    What needs to be done is to have some leadership that can bring the citizens together as a union that could shut things down in the US though consumer strikes if need be.

    Once they form a citizens union they have some power in the form of strikes. But this direct action must be done in concert so it has a meaningful effect. .

    Trouble is hard to get all citizens on board. Say we wished to get the GM workers on board for health insurance reform, so asked them to strike? Why would they care? They have health insurance, so it is not a concern to them. Same with many other areas of workers, such as airline pilots, electrical generation, etc.

    But if enough disgusted Americans come together then they still could have a say with how things come down. What that number is, I don't know.

    With any leader comes ego, greed, corruption and power issues, so there are always problem involved no matter what direction we take. And the other obstacle is that of self sufficiency. People can't go very long on their own when it comes to losing their mod cons.

    My own opinion is that very little will come out of any discussion about change as the politicians have you in their pocket and have pretty much free reign to do as they please. And the citizens only tool is to feel good about voting out one piece of shit and replacing it with another piece of shit.

    But this was as I told you back in Oct of 2008. Do you have a 50%-50% chance of getting the right person in Washington? Or do you have a 100% chance of getting another lying rhetorician in DC?

    I am surlprised that I have not seen more about the "benificent" motives of the Insurance Industry with their support of the Prescription Drug supplement for Medicare! With the stipulation of no price negotiation and the insistence of President Bush that he would veto any bill that would leave that option open the cost of the program has more than tripled. These costs are Insurance Industry profits and result in increased stock value. So much for their intentions to clean up their act and the resistance to the public option.

    Thank you for this reporting on the most pressing issue in America today! When will someone stand up and say "If we all had the Public Option maybe we would not need to make 25 dollars and hour to survive"

    I have been thinking about this program a lot and every time I come back to this blog I am amazed at how many comments people are posting protesting the short falls of our current market based system. The ones who are against single payer seem to use rhetoric that is a regurgitation of the smear campaign highlighted by Wendell Potter in the show.

    Is it not a conflict of interest to have publicly traded health insurance corporations with laws stating that they have to put profits and shareholders before the health and welfare of the people paying for this insurance? To my mind yes, it seems to be a huge conflict of interest and how this has come to pass seems to me the obvious reason why we are at this moment of crisis.

    It seems obvious to me this is the elephant in the room.
    If these insurance corporations are bound by law to be beholden to the shareholder then it would seem that as long as these corporations are the vessels of our health care then nothing is going to change. Here's why.

    The legal obligations are sound, if these entities were to be told by the government tomorrow that they had to become non-profits, (which is what they should have been all along) there would have to be a huge bailout of the stockholders. Most lawsuits would abound and this health care mess would just become a larger nightmare.

    How did we end up in this mess?

    It is quite simply the result of a society that values money over the health and welfare of its citizens and a lack of regulatory oversight on all levels of our financial system which has also brought us this huge recession, which for some is a depression. How is it that not one legislator has not asked this question? The bottom line is health care insurance and for profit corporations are at odds with the whole idea of what health care should be.
    Health care should not be commodity like a car. As one person said it should be using car insurance as a way of pointing to this absurd idea. We are not cars. Not all of us drive.
    All humans become sick, get into accidents and so on. Is it not better for us as a society to have a healthier population? Personally I see a correlation of how our society has been taken over by the corporations, Wall Street and that there needs and profits come before the better good of the nation as a whole. Be it a factory in Pennsylvania shut down not because it’s not profitable, only for the bottom line of placating the quarterly earnings of the corporate entity that owned the factory. The same seems true in the health insurance industry; earnings top the real mission of these corporations.

    It seems evident to me that these lines from our constitution, "with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" that good health should be part of the equation in this pursuit along with doing away with what is becoming the tyranny of the corporate entity and wall street. The word tyranny might seem a heavy-handed way of putting, but I see it as such. This tyranny is not that these entities exists it comes from how they have been able to mold legislation and control our representatives for the good of there agendas and not the communities we all live in.

    Our political and financial systems are our out of balance and the perverse outcome of this is the current health care crisis which is now being debated over by men and women who do seem to be working for the betterment of our society. They are doing the bidding of the health insurance corporations, which is why we will end up with a bill that will do nothing to change the current system but only make it worse. I wonder if one can claim to be a health care refugee and seek asylum in Canada.

    I wish I could believe anyone in the government was seriously considering a public option. Without a massive commitment to train new nurses and doctors, it's hard to imagine the coverage we (the insured or uninsured) would get could be better or more efficient. I think the first two steps are to take the profit out of the health care industry and commit to a plan to reorganize our workforce towards providing medical services.

    Under the Preamble of our Federal Constitution, our government MUST provide for the common defense and general welfare of All Americans. We are supposed to have a government funded healthcare system to protect us just like we have a government funded Army that protects us. let's get the Hill Burton General Hospital system "back in". google: LaRouchePac

    Under the Preamble of our Federal Constitution, our government MUST provide for the common defense and general welfare of All Americans. We are supposed to have a government funded healthcare system to protect us just like we have a government funded Army that protects us. let's get the Hill Burton General Hospital system "back in". google: LaRouchePac

    I haven’t read all of the above Boggs, but I am a supporter of National Health Care.
    As I see it with 50 million men, women and children without health care and with the continue lost of jobs through plant closing this number will increase. Thank God, for our welfare programs, Medicare and Veterans Hospitals that is providing care to a number of them. These are government programs and they are working, so why not take the next step to a Public Option.
    I am a retiree with a employer paid health care plan for now, but my deductibles have just increased, and my Florida Doctor who is in my Network, refuses to take Medicare, so I have to pay up front and then they summit my bill to Medicare for payment, and all over what Medicare paid comes out of my pocket.
    If we don’t do something about health care in this country, these practices by the Doctors and Insurance Companies I really believe that it will get worse.

    Posted by: Dan Martin, Ohio

    I haven’t read all of the above Boggs, but I am a supporter of National Health Care.
    As I see it with 50 million men, women and children without health care and with the continue lost of jobs through plant closing this number will increase. Thank God, for our welfare programs, Medicare and Veterans Hospitals that is providing care to a number of them. These are government programs and they are working, so why not take the next step to a Public Option.
    I am a retiree with a employer paid health care plan for now, but my deductibles have just increased, and my Florida Doctor who is in my Network, refuses to take Medicare, so I have to pay up front and then they summit my bill to Medicare for payment, and all over what Medicare paid comes out of my pocket.
    If we don’t do something about health care in this country, these practices by the Doctors and Insurance Companies I really believe that it will get worse.

    Posted by: Dan Martin, Ohio

    I haven’t read all of the above Boggs, but I am a supporter of National Health Care.
    As I see it with 50 million men, women and children without health care and with the continue lost of jobs through plant closing this number will increase. Thank God, for our welfare programs, Medicare and Veterans Hospitals that is providing care to a number of them. These are government programs and they are working, so why not take the next step to a Public Option.
    I am a retiree with a employer paid health care plan for now, but my deductibles have just increased, and my Florida Doctor who is in my Network, refuses to take Medicare, so I have to pay up front and then they summit my bill to Medicare for payment, and all over what Medicare paid comes out of my pocket.
    If we don’t do something about health care in this country, these practices by the Doctors and Insurance Companies I really believe that it will get worse.

    Posted by: Dan Martin, Ohio

    I find it incredulous that anyone could defend our medical system.

    For 2008 the World Health Organization ranked the United States 37th (yeah, we are 37th) in over all health of its citizens as compared to the rest of the world.

    Other than the United States, the Canadians spend more per citizen on health care than any other country in the world.

    The United States spends “twice” as much per citizen on health care as the Canadians (yeah 100% more/citizen).

    How do you defend a medical system that cost more than double any other place in the world and yet performs at 37th?

    Have you no shame?

    Mr. Wendell Potter,

    In case you are reading this, I must state: In considering your circumstances, I must conclude that you are a hero and a patriot for your honesty and courage to speak out on this issue.

    Thank you.

    I'm so angry at what I heard on this week's Bill Moyer's Journal.

    Angry that things are so out of hand, and corrupt. Is there no one we can trust to look out for the interest of the American people? Someone that really means it, and not just says what sounds good or uses scare tactics filled with lies.

    I'm done sitting back and just hearing what's thrown our way. I'm done taking what we hear and accepting it.

    EVERY politician should be cut off of medical coverage IMMEDIATELY. Give it a few months, of them paying out of pocket costs for everything medical related. They'll be singing a new tune when the finally understand what's REALLY going on. It takes experiencing something first hand to truly appreciate, understand, and have compassion for others going through the same thing.

    This is been going on for year's. Why is it just now making the news. Insurance companies been scaming people right along, commeting FRAUD against medicare/ Medicaid. Just look at Well Care out of Tampa Florida, $$$80 million dollars in fraud, of medicaid. but Florida's always been one of the biggest fraud states against both. It's just been to bad that report's/ people like Mr. Wendell Potter been sitting behind the AC on hot day's and the heaton freezing day's when people like me kill ourselves daily just trying to make ends meet for the family, that's including two jobs a day.. I think the heat got applied when I belief it was Barb.Walter's I hope I am right or Dianna Sawyer's that did the show earlier this year on the people from the Appalachian Mountain, from South central New York to Central Alabama.Knowing this for I have lived in both state's. In NY start where the Catskill Mt's tail off. Here is something that is being broomed under the rug. It's a old but new medical problem also with no cure It's called Hernia's more and more people in America have surgery for this problem, with no cure any more. It use to be fixed by suture tension method, but doctor's were seeing a very high rate of recuurence, so hernia mesh patches were invented hoping this would cure the problem. WRONG IT'S HURTING AND KILLING PEOPLE. They are made from plastic, polyproylene/polyethylene, that's right same as monfilament/mulitifilament. same thing that everyday stuff is made of,outside our bodies,but now is inside our bodies. When I first saw Michael Moores moie "SICKO" I knew this was to true that someone was finial able to stand up to the insurance companies cover up's. What really need's to be investagted, is the no policies that include the big words of PRE-EXISTING, RECURRENCE,ETC... Just this past week I tried to get insurance on myselve and three different companies turned me down. Why? Because of having a recurrence of a Ventral Hernia, I was told that because of it being a recurrent health issue I could not be covered. I also was told, under pre-existing condition insurance wouldnot cover the recurrent hernia. Then if a company was to cover me?? It would be a full 1-year before policy would or if to kick in.(365-day's). but the hernia would not be covered by it. So now I sit here as a unemployable person-job risk, uninsureable, fighting SS Disability appeal had to hire attorney for this, if I get SSD, they get a big chunk of it first. Any place from $2000.00- $5000.00. It's all a sham or Fraud......

    NOTE:

    Where is the promise of getting everybody an affordable plan which is as good as what a member of Congress gets? This promise was made again and again by the then candidate Obama. Also by other Democrats either explicitly or implicitly.

    There is honor even amongst thieves. So how can the Admin and Democratic Caucus get away with broken promises in the name of compromise.

    The biggest problem we face is the spinelessness of the Dems in boldly standing behind the Party Agenda. Some of them think they will only win next reelection by being Dems in Republican Clothing. I wish Reid & Durbin could whip these recalcitrant DINOs into shape. Some among them are bought and paid for by the Health Lobbies. Most are political opportunists. They ran on a Democratic ticket to ride Obama's coattails without honestly subscribing to his agenda. I wonder what is the belief set of these Blue or Bluish Dogs. To me it appears that all the items on their agenda are "reelection" ... "reelection". This they believe is best done by being more reactionary than their GOP brethren.

    The Republicans stand in one line no matter where it goes. If Dems fail to realize the value of voting in unison on issues vitally important to their voters, they should forget about 2010 and 2102.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Here is a copy of the letter I wrote to my Senator:
    -------------------------------------COPY---------------------------------

    EXTREMELY URGENT PLEASE BRING IT TO SEN FEINSTEINS ATTENTION

    Following the Health Care Segment on John King's Show, AP story attributed the following to you:
    "Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she wasn't certain there are enough votes in the president's own party to support the proposal. "I think there's a lot of concern in the Democratic caucus," she said."

    This alarmed me very much. A lot of disinformation is being spread by GOP blowhards like Cantor, Pence, Boehner, Graham and surprisingly the new McCain. This can not be countered by airing the concerns on TV talk shows, instead of resolving them within the Party. Being a Californian, I share your concern about raiding the Medicaid by 5-6B will impact the already broken budget. I am sure this paper tiger can be slayed easily because none of your colleagues will be mindless enough to propose such an outrageous idea. AS YOUR CONSTITUENT SENATOR, I IMPLORE YOU TO TAKE UP THIS CAUSE CRITICAL TO THE WELL BEING OF CALIFORNIANS AND REST OF THE NATION. I hope the following paragraphs are of some use in destroying the Bogey men raised by the GOP blowhards.

    On the Health Care issue of a Public Plan Option (PO) some facts are often overlooked. Some GOP & Effete Dems have been standing behind a bunch of Bogey Men of their own creation. They are a hidebound bunch of people part of the "let us oppose whatever Obama says" campaign. These opponents of PO are hereon referred as the POpponents. Following attempts to push back the POpponents.

    Ins lobby says "Public Option hurts Free Market". Nothing Free Market about Ins Oligarchy sanctioned by Gov to loot Captive Customers. Current state does not permit meaningful choice. If the Gov run option is inefficient & less patient friendly, it should be easy to compete with it. The reason the Oligarchs are trying to scare the public is to preserve their Gov protection.

    Another canard is that most people love their current Employer paid plans. The high premiums today are passed on to the employees in the form of lower salaries or makes the Companies uncompetitive on the world stage. Not only the employees be happier if their portion of the premium $ got reduced. The employers should be a lot happier by subscribing to a PO or another competitive Private Plan, allowing them to compete more effectively in a global market.

    "Expensive PO will bust the Budget". PO should run on a "break even" basis without any government subsidies. The only cost should be to cover the uninsured. This should be the same with or without PO. If GOP/Effete-Dems do not want to cover the uninsured, they should stand up and say so, instead of using false arguments to scare the public. Spreading fear has become the MO of this coalition - from NIMBY to PO.

    Health CoOps are Red Herring. Organizing Health CoOp harder than Food CoOp. No good Doc will sign up with fledgling CoOp. No negotiating power. Harmless and toothless option designed to please the Lobby.

    It is distressing to see that President Obama, even with a clear mandate from people, has not taken as strong a position on PO as it deserves. Appeasing of the GOP Blowhards / Effete Dems coalition is disheartening. To regenerate the spine of the Effete Dems and block the Insurance Lobby / GOP POpponent's efforts to confuse the public, Obama needs to take a clear cut position and mount a campaign so that the public pressure pushes the recalcitrant members of Congress to do the right thing.

    Apart from the "revelations" about the health care industry --- which we all knew about anecdotally anyway, it was fascinating to see Bill Moyers really grill Mr. Potter over HOW he could have acted the way he did when he worked in the industry. I'd like to see him do the same thing with every high paid executive in this country. It is the skewed morality of people like this that is incomprehensible to me. The code of physicians ought to apply to everyone, especially those who wield power, i.e. "First, DO NO HARM." Mr. Potter exhibits what I call the Grandfather Effect. He has reached an age when the end of his life seems closer than he ever thought it would and he has begun to observe himself with eyes from outside the systems which govern this world. Actions which seemed O.K., perhaps even laudable by the standards of human society now seem a little bit suspect, even downright wrong when you think a higher power might soon be judging them. Or perhaps he just looks at his grandkids and thinks, what kind of a world am I leaving to them? I have never been to business school, so I don't know whether any philosophy or ethics classes are required parts of the curriculum, but it might do some good for people who are going to be affecting the lives of so many of us to have to think about the larger issues, not at the end of a career but at the very beginning.

    Your editorial comment at the end of your program about affordable healthcare stated something that unless the (monied for profit lobbiest) are tossed out of the temple, nothing will be done about a disconnet between democracy by and for the people and one that is currently "For Sale".

    One of the great moments, to me, in Obama's campaign and first days in office, was his promised and proclaimed direct order/rule that under his watch, lobbiests' activities will be curtailed and limited for access to his administration. Accountability will be transparent.

    Did he lie? With millions of dollars spent daily by lobbiests to oppose a public option and with the administration's choice of a person to run the committee on healthcare reform committed (one tied to lobbiest firms, who puts a public option off the table, and whose committee of oversite is composed of corporate sponsors of these lobbiests) DID HE LIE?

    IF HE DID--BASED ON HIS ACTION RESULTS, this is the most serious affront to his integrity, which is one emotional reason most of us voted for him and for for which he should be fired.

    He and congress have less than two years to prove he and the Democrats did not lie to us. If they have, replace those who did not do what the voters mandated them to do. Find both honourable representatives of the people and/or get a different President.

    Give the people the same benefits we taxpayers already pay to provide quality healthcare to elected career representative who oppose it for us.

    Lie to us once, shame on you. Lie again, shame on us for our voter ignorance and our apathy at holding their feet to the accountability fire.

    Roosevelt is oft reported to have said, "Make me do it". Make the representatives we voted for do what we want, or fire them all, Obama and family included.


    I listened to the 5:00 am TV show this morning discussing the public health care plan with Wendell Potter. Mention was made of the movie SICKO by Michael Moore. Showing clips of people in what I assumed was a Canadian hospital waiting room. People stated that they only had "...a few minutes wait time for treatment..."
    1.)This may be the case for Canada, but in the last six months that I required treatment at Emergency room (twice) at Rochester General Hospital here in Rochester, NY, my wait time both times was over 4 hours.
    2.) I have a cousin in Ft. Erie, Canada who several years ago was diagnosed by his Canadian doctor of having rectal cancer. He was advised that there would be a four month wait for his operation to be approved. So he went across the Peace Bridge to Buffalo General Hospital, where his operation was successfully performed. He paid for the operation out of his own pocket. Doctors told him that had he NOT had the operation at that time, that he would not have survived.
    Your program showed (I believe) three Republican congressmen correctly making the case of bureaucratic wait times when there is someone between patient and doctor. This was glossed over as I understood it by Mr. Moyers and Mr. Potter.
    Why not have an investigation made by an independent study on this issue. It would add more depth to the discussion to have the Buffalo, NY hospitals reveal just how many people come from Canada to have their life saving operations performed !
    A public option is a noble cause, but we need to discuss fully all aspects, including COST!

    I listened to the broadcast with Wendell Potter at 5:00 AM.
    My comment: When the mention of Canadian and foreign health care was discussed, clips of the "Sicko" movie were shown. They glossed over the fact that "...there was no waiting time..." in the Canadian health care systems. Stating that they only had a few minutes waiting time.
    1.) In necessitating two trips to Emergency rooms in the last six months, (Rochester General Hospital; Rochester, NY), both times my wait was 4 hours. And I was in extreme pain!
    2.) I have a cousin who lives in Ft. Erie, Canada. A few years ago, he was diagnosed as having rectal cancer. In order to have an operation he was advised that he had to wait four months for his operation. What he did was go across the Peace Bridge to Buffalo General Hospital to have his operation. He was advised that had he not had the operation at that time, that he would not be living today! That is FACT ! Yet your program displayed three Republican Congressmen arguing the fact (which they stat